Skip to main content

Full text of "Gleanings in Buddha-fields : studies of hand and soul in the Far East"

See other formats


iNCLSSM f 



lU 



^p lafcaHia ^eam 



FANTASTICS AND OTHER FANCIES. 
THE ROMANCE OF THE MILKY WAY, AND 
OTHER STUDIES AND STORIES. 

KWAIDAN : Stories and Studies of Strange Things. 
With two Japanese Illustrations. 

GLEANINGS IN BUDDHA-FIELDS. 

KOKORO. Hints and Echoes of Japanese Inner 
Life. 

OUT OF THE EAST. Reveries and Studies in 
New Japan. 

GLIMPSES OF UNFAMILIAR JAPAN. 2 vols. 

STRAY LEAVES FROM STRANGE LITERA- 
TURE. 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 
Boston and New York 



Gleanings in Buddha-Fields 



STUDIES OF HAND AND SOUL 
IN THE FAR EAST 



BY 



LAFCADIO HEARN 

LECTURER ON ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE 
IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY OF JAPAN 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 



3 



COPYRIGHT 1897 BY 

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COt 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



£Hoi^:, 



CONTENTS 



PA6B 

I. A LiYiKG God 1 

H. Out op the Street 29 

III. Notes of a Trip to Kyoto 43 

IV. Dust 84 

V. About Faces ln Japanese Art 97 

VI. Ningyo-no-Haka 124 

Vn. In Osaka 132 

VIII. Buddhist Allusions in Japanese Folk- 

SONG 185 

IX. Nirvana 211 

X. The Rebirth of KatsugorS 267 

XL Within the Circle • . 291 



d?,Ql7'o 



GLEANINGS IN BUDDHA-FIELDS 



A LIVING GOD 



Of whatever dimension, the temples or 
shrines of pm^e Shinto are all built in the 
same archaic style. The typical shrine is a 
windowless oblong building of unpainted tim- 
ber, with a very steep overhanging roof ; the 
front is the gable end ; and the upper part of 
the perpetually closed doors is wooden lattice- 
work, — usually a grating of bars closely set 
and crossing each other at right angles. In 
most cases the structure is raised slightly 
above the ground on wooden pillars ; and the 
queer peaked facade, with its visor-like aper- 
tures and the fantastic projections of beam- 
work above its gable-angle, might remind the 
European traveler of certain old Gothic forms 
of dormer. There is no artificial color. The 



2 A LIVING GOD 

plain wood ^ soon turns, under the action o£ 
rain and sun, to a natural grey, varying ac- 
cording to surface exposure from the silvery 
tone of birch bark to the sombre grey of 
ba3.alt. So shaped and so tinted, the isolated 
country yashiro may seem less like a work of 
joinery than a feature of the scenery, — a 
rural form related to nature as closely as 
rocks and trees, — a something that came 
into existence only as a manifestation of 
Ohotsuchi-no-Kami, the Earth-god, the pri- 
meval divinity of the land. 

Why certain architectural forms produce 
in the beholder a feeling of weirdness is a 
question about which I should like to theorize 
some day : at present I shall venture only to 
say that Shinto shrines evoke such a feeling. 
It grows with familiarity instead of weaken- 
ing ; and a knowledge of popular beliefs is 
apt to intensify it. We have no English 
words by which these queer shapes can be 
sufficiently described, — much less any lan- 
guage able to communicate the peculiar im- 
pression which they make. Those Shinto 
terms which we loosely render by the words 
** temple " and " shrine " are really untrans- 

* Usually hinoki {Chamcecyparis obtusa). 



A LIVING GOD 3 

latable ; — I mean that the Japanese ideas 
attaching to them cannot be conveyed by 
translation. The so-called " august house " 
of the Kami is not so much a temple, in 
the classic meaning of the term, as it v^ ^ 
haunted room, a spirit-chamber, a ghost- 
house ; many of the lesser divinities being 
veritably ghosts, — ghosts of great warriors 
and heroes and rulers and teachers, who lived 
and loved and died hundreds or thousands of 
years ago. I fancy that to the Western mind 
the word " ghost-house " will convey, better 
than such terms as " shrine " and " temple," 
some vague notion of the strange character of 
the Shinto miya or yashiro, — containing in 
its perpetual dusk nothing more substantial 
than symbols or tokens, the latter probably of 
paper. Now the emptiness behind the visored 
front is more suggestive than anything mate- 
rial could possibly be ; and when you remem- 
ber that millions of people during thousands 
of years have worshiped their great dead be- 
fore such yashirOy — that a whole race still 
believes those buildings tenanted by viewless 
conscious personalities, — you are apt also to 
reflect how difficult it would be to prove the 



4 A LIVING GOD 

faith absurd. Nay ! in spite of Occidental 
reluctances, — in spite of whatever you may 
think it expedient to say or not to say at a 
later time about the experience, — you may 
Y-eiy likely find yourself for a moment forced 
into the attitude of respect toward possibili- 
ties. Mere cold reasoning will not help you 
far in the opposite direction. The evidence 
of the senses counts for little : you know there 
are ever so many realities which can neither 
be seen nor heard nor felt, but which exist as 
forces, — tremendous forces. Then again you 
cannot mock the conviction of forty millions 
of people while that conviction thrills all 
about you like the air, — while conscious that 
it is pressing upon your psychical being just 
as the atmosphere presses upon your physical 
being. As for myself, whenever I am alone 
in the presence of a Shinto shrine, I have the 
sensation of being haunted ; and I cannot 
help thinking about the possible apperceptions 
of the haunter. And this tempts me to fancy 
how I should feel if I myself were a god, — 
dwelling in some old Izumo shrine on the 
summit of a hill, guarded by stone lions and 
shadowed by a holy grove. 



A LIVING GOD 5 

Elfishly small my habitation might be, but 
never too small, because I should have neither 
size nor form. I should be only a vibration, 
— a motion invisible as of ether or of mag- 
netism ; though able sometimes to shapf me 
a shadow-body, in the likeness of my former 
visible self, when I should wish to make ap- 
parition. 

As air to the bird, as water to the fish, so 
would all substance be permeable to the es- 
sence of me. I should pass at will through 
the walls of my dwelling to swim in the long 
gold bath of a sunbeam, to thrill in the heart 
of a flower, to ride on the neck of a dragon- 

fly. 

Power above life and power over death 
would be mine, — and the power of self -exten- 
sion, and the power of self-multiplication, and 
the power of being in all places at one and 
the same moment. Simultaneously in a hun- 
dred homes I should hear myself worshiped, 
I should inhale the vapor of a hundred offer- 
ings: each evening, from my place within a 
hundred household shrines, I should see the 
holy lights lighted for me in lamplets of red 
clay, in lamplets of brass, — the lights of the 



6 A LIVING GOD 

Kami, kindled witli purest fire and fed with 
purest oil. 

But in my yashiro upon the hill I should 
have greatest honor : there betimes I should 
gat|ier the multitude of my selves together ; 
there should I unify my powers to answer 
supplication. 

From the dusk of my ghost-house I should 
look for the coming of sandaled feet, and 
watch brown supple fingers weaving to my 
bars the knotted papers which are records of 
vows, and observe the motion of the lips of 
my worshipers making prayer : — 

— " Harai-tamai hiyome-tamae f . . . We 
have beaten drums, we have lighted fires ; yet 
the land thirsts and the rice fails. Deign out 
of thy divine pity to give us rain, O Daimyo- 
jin ! " 

— " Harai - tamai hiyome -tamae / . , , 1 
am dark, too dark, because I have toiled in 
the field, because the sun hath looked upon 
me. Deign thou augustly to make me white, 
very white, — white like the women of the 
city, O Daimyo jin ! " 



A LIVING GOD 1 

— " Harai-tamai kiyome-tamae / . . . For 
Tsukamoto Motokiclii our son, a soldier of 
twenty-nine : that he may conquer and come 
back quickly to us, — soon, very soon, — we 
humbly supplicate, O Daimyojin ! " 

Sometimes a girl would whisper all her 
heart to me : " Maiden of eighteen years, I 
am loved by a youth of twenty. He is good ; 
he is true ; but poverty is with us, and the 
path of our love is dark. Aid us with thy 
great divine pity ! — help us that we may be- 
come united, O Daimyojin ! " Then to the 
bars of my shrine she would hang a thick soft 
tress of hair, — her own hair, glossy and 
black as the wing of the crow, and bound 
with a cord of mulberry-paper. And in the 
fragrance of that offering, — the simple fra- 
grance of her peasant youth, — I, the ghost 
and god, should find again the feelings of the 
years when I was man and lover. 

Mothers would bring their children to my 
threshold, and teach them to revere me, say- 
ing, " Bow down before the great bright God ; 
make homage to the Daimyojin." Then I 
should hear the fresh soft clapping of little 



8 A LIVING GOD 

hands, and remember that I, the ghost and 
god, had been a father. 

Daily I should hear the plash of pure cool 
water poured out for me, and the tinkle of 
thrown coin, and the pattering of dry rice into 
my wooden box, like a pattering of rain ; and 
I should be refreshed by the spirit of the 
water, and strengthened by the spirit of the 
rice. 

Festivals would be held to honor me. 
Priests, black - coiffed and linen - vestured, 
would bring me offerings of fruits and fish 
and seaweed and rice-cakes and rice-wine, — 
masking their faces with sheets of white 
paper, so as not to breathe upon my food. 
And the miko their daughters, fair girls in 
crimson hakama and robes of snowy white, 
would come to dance with tinkling of little 
bells, with waving of silken fans, that I might 
be gladdened by the bloom of their youth, 
that I might delight in the charm of their 
grace. And there would be music of many 
thousand years ago, — weird music of drums 
and flutes, — and songs in a tongue no longer 
spoken ; while the miko, the darlings of the 
gods, would poise and pose before me : — 



A LIVING GOD 9 

..." WTiose virgins are these, — the vir- 
gins who stand like flowers before the Deity f 
They are the virgins of the august Deity. 

" The august music, the dancing of the 
virgins, — the Deity will he pleased to h%<ir^ 
the Deity will rejoice to see. 

" Before the great bright God the virgins 
dance, — the virgins all like flowers newly 
opened.''^ . . . 

Votive gifts of many kinds I should be 
given : painted paper lanterns bearing my 
sacred name, and towels of divers colors 
printed with the number of the years of the 
giver, and pictures commemorating the fulfill- 
ment of prayers for the healing of sickness, 
the saving of ships, the quenching of fire, the 
birth of sons. 

Also my Karashishi, my guardian lions, 
would be honored. I should see my pilgrims 
tying sandals of straw to their necks and to 
their paws, with prayer to the Karashishi- 
Sama for strength of foot. 

I should see fine moss, like emerald fur, 
growing slowly, slowly, upon the backs of 
those lions ; — I should see the sprouting of 



10 A LIVING GOD 

lichens upon their flanks and upon their 
shoulders, in specklings of dead - silver, in 
patches of dead - gold ; — I should watch, 
through years of generations, the gradual 
side,ward sinking of their pedestals under- 
mined by frost and rain, until at last my lions 
would lose their balance, and fall, and break 
their mossy heads off. After which the peo- 
ple would give me new lions of another form, 
— lions of granite or of bronze, with gilded 
teeth and gilded eyes, and tails like a torment 
of fire. 

Between the trunks of the cedars and pines, 
between the jointed columns of the bamboos, 
I should observe, season after season, the 
changes of the colors of the valley : the fall- 
ing of the snow of winter and the falling of 
the snow of cherry-flowers ; the lilac spread 
of the miyakohana ; the blazing yellow of the 
natane ; the sky - blue mirrored in flooded 
levels, — levels dotted with the moon-shaped 
hats of the toiling people who would love me ; 
and at last the pure and tender green of the ; 
growing rice. 

The muku\i\x^% and the uguisu would fill 
the shadows of my grove with ripplings and 



A LIVING GOD 11 

purlings of melody ; — the bell-insects, the 
crickets, and the seven marvelous cicadae of 
summer would make all the wood of my ghost- 
house thrill to their musical storms. Betimes 
I should enter, like an ecstasy, into the tiny 
lives of them, to quicken the joy of their 
clamor, to magnify the sonority of their song. 

But I never can become a god, — for this 
is the nineteenth century ; and nobody can be 
really aware of the nature of the sensations of 
a god — unless there be gods in the flesh. Are 
there ? Perhaps — in very remote districts — 
one or two. There used to be living gods. 

Anciently any man who did something ex- 
traordinarily great or good or wise or brave 
might be declared a god after his death, no 
matter how humble his condition in life. 
Also good people who had suffered great 
cruelty and injustice might be apotheosized ; 
and there still survives the popular inclination 
to pay posthumous honor and to make prayer 
to the spirits of those who die voluntary 
deaths under particular circumstances, — to 
souls of unhappy lovers, for example. (Prob- 
ably the old customs which made this ten- 



12 A LIVING GOD 

dency had their origin in the wish to appease 
the vexed spirit, although to-day the experi- 
ence of great suffering seems to be thought 
of as qualifying its possessor for divine condi- 
tions of being ; — and there would be no fool- 
ishness whatever in such a thought.) But 
there were even more remarkable deifications. 
Certain persons, while still alive, were hon- 
ored by having temples built for their spirits, 
and were treated as gods ; not, indeed, as 
national gods, but as lesser divinities, — tute- 
lar deities, perhaps, or village-gods. There 
was, for instance, Hamaguchi Gohei, a farmer 
of the district of Arita in the province of 
Kishu, who was made a god before he died. 
And I think he deserved it. 

II 

Before telling the story of Hamaguchi 
Gohei, I must say a few words about certain 
laws — or, more correctly speaking, customs 
having all the force of laws — by which many 
village communities were ruled in pre-Meiji 
times. These customs were based upon the 
social experience of ages ; and though they 
differed in minor details according to province 



A LIVING GOD 13 

or district, their main signification was every- 
where about the same. Some were ethical, 
some industrial, some religious ; and all mat- 
ters were regidated by them, — even individ- 
ual behavior. They preserved peace, 'and 
they compelled mutual help and mutual kind- 
ness. Sometimes there might be serious fight- 
ing between different villages, — little peasant 
wars about questions of water supply or 
boundaries ; but quarreling between men of 
the same community could not be tolerated in 
an age of vendetta, and the whole village 
would resent any needless disturbance of the 
internal peace. To some degree this state of 
things still exists in the more old-fashioned 
provinces : the people know how to live with- 
out quarreling, not to say fighting. Any- 
where, as a general rule, Japanese fight only 
to kill ; and when a sober man goes so far as 
to strike a blow, he virtually rejects communal 
protection, and takes his life into his own 
hands with every probability of losing it. 

The private conduct of the other sex was 
regulated by some remarkable obligations 
entirely outside of written codes. A peasant 
girl, before marriage, enjoyed far more liberty 



14 A LIVING GOD 

than was permitted to city girls. She might 
be known to have a lover; and unless her 
parents objected very strongly, no blame 
would be given to her : it was regarded as an 
hoiiest union, — honest, at least, as to inten- 
tion. But having once made a choice, the 
girl was held bound by that choice. If it 
were discovered that she met another admirer 
secretly, the people would strip her naked, 
allowing her only a shuro-lesd for apron, and 
drive her in mockery through every street and 
alley of the village. During this public dis- 
grace of their daughter, the parents of the 
girl dared not show their faces abroad ; they 
were expected to share her shame, and they 
had to remain in their house, with all the 
shutters fastened up. Afterward the girl 
was sentenced to banishment for five years. 
But at the end of that period she was consid- 
ered to have expiated her fault, and she could 
return home with the certainty of being spared 
further reproaches. 

The obligation of mutual help in time of 
calamity or danger was the most imperative 
of all communal obligations. In case of fire, 
especially, everybody was required to give 



A LIVING GOD 15 

immediate aid to the best of his or her ability. 
Even children were not exempted from this 
duty. In towns and cities, of course, things 
were differently ordered ; but in any little 
country village the universal duty was very 
plain and simple, and its neglect would have 
been considered unpardonable. 

A curious fact is that this obligation of 
mutual help extended to religious matters : 
everybody was expected to invoke the help of 
the gods for the sick or the unfortunate, when- 
ever asked to do so. For example, the village 
might be ordered to make a sendo-maiy^i^ 
on behalf of some one seriously ill. On such 
occasions the Kumi-cho (each Kumi-cho was 
responsible for the conduct of five or more 
families) would run from house to house cry- 
ing, " Such and such a one is very sick : 

1 To perform a sendo-mairi means to make one thou- 
sand visits to a temple, and to repeat one thousand invoca- 
tions to the deity. But it is considered necessary only to 
go from the gate or the torii of the temple-court to the 
place of prayer, and back, one thousand times, repeating the 
invocation each time ; and the task may be divided among 
any number of persons, — ten visits by one hundred persons, 
for instance, being quite as efficacious as a thousand visits 
by a single person. 



16 A LIVING GOD 

kindly hasten all to make a sendo-mairi ! " 
Thereupon, however occupied at the moment, 
every soul in the settlement was expected to 
hurry to the temple, — taking care not to trip 
or stumble on the way, as a single misstep 
during the performance of a sendo-mairi was 
believed to mean misfortune for the sick. . . . 

Ill 

Now concerning Hamaguchi. 

From immemorial time the shores of Japan 
have been swept, at irregular intervals of cen- 
turies, by enormous tidal waves, — tidal waves 
caused by earthquakes or by submarine vol- 
canic action. These awful sudden risings of 
the sea are called by the Japanese tsunami. 
The last one occurred on the evening of June 
17, 1896, when a wave nearly two hundred 
miles long struck the northeastern provinces 
of Miyagi, Iwate, and Aomori, wrecking scores 
of towns and villages, ruining whole districts, 
and destroying nearly thirty thousand human 
lives. The story of Hamaguchi Gohei is the 
story of a like calamity which happened long 
before the era of Meiji, on another part of the 
Japanese coast. 



A LIVING GOD 17 

He was an old man at the time of the^^ccui- 
rence that made him famous. He nas the 
most influential resident of the village to which 
he belonged : he had been for many years its 
muraosa^ or headman ; and he was not less 
liked than respected. The people usually 
called him Ojiisan^ which means Grandfather ; 
but, being the richest member of the commu- 
nity, he was sometimes officially referred to as 
the Choja. He used to advise the smaller 
farmers about their interests, to arbitrate their 
disputes, to advance them money at need, and 
to dispose of their rice for them on the best 
terms possible. 

Hamaguchi's big thatched farmhouse stood 
at the verge of a small plateau overlooking a 
bay. The plateau, mostly devoted to rice cul- 
ture, was hemmed in on three sides by thickly 
wooded summits. From its outer verge the 
land sloped down in a huge green concavity, 
as if scooped out, to the edge of the water ; 
and the whole of this slope, some three quar- 
ters of a mile long, was so terraced as to look, 
when viewed from the open sea, like an enor- 
mous flight of green steps, divided in the 
centre by a narrow white zigzag, — a streak 



18 A LIVING GOD 

of mountain road. Ninety thatched dwellings 
and a Shinto temple, composing the village 
proper, stood along the curve of the bay; and 
other houses climbed straggling up the slope 
for. some distance on either side of the nar- 
row road leading to the Choja's home. 

One autumn evening Hamaguchi Gohei was 
looking down from the balcony of his house at 
some preparations for a merry-making in the 
village below. There had been a very fine 
rice-crop, and the peasants were going to cele- 
brate their harvest by a dance in the court of 
the ujigami} The old man could see the fes- 
tival banners (nohori) fluttering above the 
roofs of the solitary street, the strings of paper 
lanterns festooned between bamboo poles, the 
decorations of the shrine, and the brightly 
colored gathering of the young people. He 
had nobody with him that evening but his 
little grandson, a lad of ten ; the rest of the 
household having gone early to the village. 
He would have accompanied them had he not 
been feeling less strong than usual. 

The day had been oppressive ; and in spite 
of a rising breeze there was still in the air 

^ Shinto parish temple. 



A LIVING GOD 19 

that sort of heavy heat which, according to the 
experience of the Japanese peasant, at certain 
seasons precedes an earthquake. And pres- 
ently an earthquake came. It was not strong 
enough to frighten anybody ; but Hamaguchi, 
who had felt hundreds of shocks in his time, 
thought it was queer, — a long, slow, spongy 
motion. Probably it was but the after-tremor 
of some immense seismic action very far away. 
The house crackled and rocked gently several 
times ; then all became still again. 

As the quaking ceased Hamaguchi*s keen old 
eyes were anxiously turned toward the village. 
It often happens that the attention of a person 
gazing fixedly at a particular spot or object is 
suddenly diverted by the sense of something 
not knowingly seen at all, — by a mere vague 
feeling of the unfamiliar in that dim outer 
circle of unconscious perception which lies be- 
yond the field of clear vision. Thus it chanced 
that Hamaguchi became aware of something 
unusual in the ofiing. He rose to his feet, 
and looked at the sea. It had darkened 
quite suddenly, and it was acting strangely. 
It seemed to be moving against the wind. It 
was running away from the land. 



ZO A LIVING GOD 

Within a very little time the whole village 
had noticed the phenomenon. Apparently no 
one had felt the previous motion of the ground, 
but all were evidently astounded by the move- 
ment of the water. They were running to the 
beach, and even beyond the beach, to watch it. 
No such ebb had been witnessed on that coast 
within the memory of living man. Things 
never seen before were making apparition ; 
unfamiliar spaces of ribbed sand and reaches 
of weed-hung rock were left bare even as 
Hamaguchi gazed. And none of the people 
below appeared to guess what that monstrous 
ebb signified. 

Hamaguchi Gohei himself had never seen 
such a thing before ; but he remembered 
things told him in his childhood by his father's 
father, and he knew all the traditions of the 
coast. He understood what the sea was going 
to do. Perhaps he thought of the time needed 
to send a message to the village, or to get the 
priests of the Buddhist temple on the hill to , 
sound their big bell. . . . But it would take , 
very much longer to tell what he might have 
thought than it took him to think. He sim- 
ply called to his grandson : — 



A LIVING GOD 21 

" Tada ! — quick, — very quick ! . . . Light 
me a torch." 

Taimatsu^ or pine-torches, are kept in many 
coast dwellings for use on stormy nights, and 
also for use at certain Shint5 festivals. The 
child kindled a torch at once ; and the old man 
hurried with it to the fields, where hundreds 
of rice-stacks, representing most of his invested 
capital, stood awaiting transportation. Ap- 
proaching those nearest the verge of the slope, 
he began to apply the torch to them, — hurry- 
ing from one to another as quickly as his aged 
limbs could carry him. The sun-dried stalks 
caught like tinder ; the strengthening sea- 
breeze blew the blaze landward ; and presently, 
rank behind rank, the stacks burst into flame, 
sending skyward columns of smoke that met 
and mingled into one enormous cloudy whirl. 
Tada, astonished and terrified, ran after his 
grandfather, crying, — 

" Ojiisan ! why ? Ojiisan ! why ? — why ? " 

But Hamaguchi did not answer: he had 
no time to explain ; he was thinking only of 
the four hundred lives in peril. For a while 
the child stared wildly at the blazing rice ; 
then burst into tears, and ran back to the 



22 A LIVING GOD 

house, feeling sure that his grandfather had 
gone mad. Hamaguchi went on firing stack 
after stack, till he had reached the limit of 
his field ; then he threw down his torch, and 
waited. The acolyte of the hill-temple, ob- 
serving the blaze, set the big bell booming ; 
and the people responded to the double ap- 
peal. Hamaguchi watched them hurrying in 
from the sands and over the beach and up 
from the village, like a swarming of ants, and, 
to his anxious eyes, scarcely faster ; for the 
moments seemed terribly long to him. The 
sun was going down ; the wrinkled bed of the 
bay, and a vast sallow speckled expanse be- 
yond it, lay naked to the last orange glow; 
and still the sea was fleeing toward the hori- 
zon. 

Really, however, Hamaguchi did not have 
very long to wait before the first party of suc- 
cor arrived, — a score of agile young peas- 
ants, who wanted to attack the fire at once. 
But the Choja, holding out both arms, stopped 
them. 

" Let it burn, lads ! " he commanded, — 
" let it be ! I want the whole mura here. 
There is a great danger, — taihen da 1 " 



A LIVING GOD 23 

The whole village was coming ; and Hama- 
guchi counted. All the young men and boys 
were soon on the spot, and not a few of the 
more active women and girls ; then came 
most of the older folk, and mothers with 
babies at their backs, and even children, — 
for children could help to pass water ; and 
the elders too feeble to keep up with the first 
rush could be seen well on their way up the 
steep ascent. The growing multitude, still 
knowing nothing, looked alternately, in sor- 
rowful wonder, at the flaming fields and at 
the impassive face of their Choja. And the 
sun went down. 

" Grandfather is mad, — I am afraid of 
him ! " sobbed Tada, in answer to a number 
of questions. " He is mad. He set fire to 
the rice on purpose : I saw him do it ! " 

"As for the rice," cried Hamaguchi, "the 
child tells the truth. I set fire to the rice. 
. . . Are all the people here ? " 

The Kumi-cho and the heads of families 
looked about them, and down the hill, and 
made reply : " All are here, or very soon will 
be. . . . "We cannot understand this thing." 

" Xita ! " shouted the old man at the top 



24 A LIVING GOD 

of his voice, pointing to the open. " Say now 
if I be mad ! " 

Through the twilight eastward all looked, 
and saw at the edge of the dusky horizon a 
long, lean, dim line like the shadowing of a 
coast where no coast ever was, — a line that 
thickened as they gazed, that broadened as a 
coast-line broadens to the eyes of one ap- 
proaching it, yet incomparably more quickly. 
For that long darkness was the returning sea, 
towering like a cliff, and coursing more swiftly 
than the kite flies. 

" Tsunami ! " shrieked the people ; and 
then all shrieks and all sounds and all power 
to hear sounds were annihilated by a nameless 
shock heavier than any thunder, as the colos- 
sal swell smote the shore with a weight that 
sent a shudder through the hills, and with a 
foam-burst like a blaze of sheet-lightning. 
Then for an instant nothing was visible but 
a storm of spray rushing up the slope like a 
cloud ; and the people scattered back in panic 
from the mere menace of it. When they 
looked again, they saw a white horror of 
sea raving over the place of their homes. 
It drew back roaring, and tearing out the 



A LIVING GOD 25 

bowels of the land as it went. Twice, thrice, 
five times the sea struck and ebbed, but each 
time with lesser surges : then it returned to 
its ancient bed and stayed, — still raging, as 
after a typhoon. ,i» 

On the plateau for a time there was no 
word spoken. All stared speechlessly at the 
desolation beneath, — the ghastliness of hurled 
rock and naked riven cliff, the bewilderment 
of scooped-up deep-sea wrack and shingle shot 
over the empty site of dwelling and temple. 
The village was not ; the greater part of the 
fields were not ; even the terraces had ceased 
to exist ; and of all the homes that had been 
about the bay there remained nothing recog- 
nizable except two straw roofs tossing madly 
in the offing. The after-terror of the death 
escaped and the stupefaction of the general 
loss kept all lips dumb, until the voice of 
Hamaguchi was heard again, observing 
gently, — 

" That was lohj I set fire to the rice."** 

He, their Choja, now stood among them 

almost as poor as the poorest ; for his wealth 

was gone — but he had saved four hundred 

lives by the sacrifice. Little Tada ran to 



26 A LIVING GOD 

him, and caught his hand, and asked forgive- 
ness for having said naughty things. Where- 
upon the people woke up to the knowledge of 
why they were alive, and began to wonder at 
the simple, unselfish foresight that had saved 
them; and the headmen prostrated them- 
selves in the dust before Hamaguehi Gohei, 
and the people after them. 

Then the old man wept a little, partly be- 
cause he was happy, and partly because he 
was aged and weak and had been sorely tried. 

"My house remains," he said, as soon as 
he could find words, automatically caressing 
Tada's brown cheeks ; " and there is room for 
many. Also the temple on the hill stands ; 
and there is shelter there for the others." 

Then he led the way to his house ; and the 
people cried and shouted. 

The period of distress was long, because in 
those days there were no means of quick com- 
munication between district and district, and 
the help needed had to be sent from far away. 
But when better times came, the people did 
not forget their debt to Hamaguehi Gohei. 
They could not make him rich; nor would 



A LIVING GOD 27 

he have suffered them to do so, even had it 
been possible. Moreover, gifts could never 
have sufficed as an expression of their rever- 
ential feeling towards him ; for they believed 
that the ghost within him was divine. So 
they declared him a god, and thereafter called 
him Hamaguchi Daimyojin, thinking they 
could give him no greater honor ; — and truly 
no greater honor in any country could be 
given to mortal man. And when they rebuilt 
the village, they built a temple to the spirit 
of him, and fixed above the front of it a tab- 
let bearing his name in Chinese text of gold ; 
and they worshiped him there, with prayer 
and with offerings. How he felt about it I 
cannot say ; — I know only that he continued 
to live in his old thatched home upon the hill, 
with his children and his children's children, 
just as humanly and simply as before, while 
his soul was being worshiped in the shrine 
below. A hundred years and more he has 
been dead ; but his temple, they tell me, still 
stands, and the people still pray to the ghost 
of the good old farmer to help them in time 
of fear or trouble. 



28 A LIVING GOD 

I asked a Japanese philosopher and friend 
to explain to me how the peasants could ra- 
tionally imagine the spirit of Hamaguchi in 
one place while his living body was in an- 
other. Also I inquired whether it was only 
one of his souls which they had worshiped 
during his life, and whether they imagined 
that particular soul to have detached itseK 
from the rest to receive homage. 

" The peasants," my friend answered, 
" think of the mind or spirit of a person as 
something which, even during life, can be in 
many places at the same instant. . . . Such 
an idea is, of course, quite different from 
Western ideas about the soul." 

" Any more rational ? " I mischievously 
asked. 

" Well," he responded, with a Buddhist 
smile, " if we accept the doctrine of the unity 
of all mind, the idea of the Japanese peasant 
would appear to contain at least some adum- 
bration of truth. I could not say so much for 
your Western notions about the soul." 



n 

OUT OF THE STREET 



"These," said Manyemon, putting on the 
table a roll of wonderfully written Japanese 
manuscript, " are Vulgar Songs. If they are 
to be spoken of in some honorable book, per- 
haps it will be good to say that they are 
Vulgar, so that Western people may not be 
deceived." 

Next to my house there is a vacant lot, 
where washermen (^sentahiiyd) work in the 
ancient manner, — singing as they work, and 
whipping the wet garments upon big flat stones. 
Every morning at daybreak their singing 
wakens me ; and I like to listen to it, though 
I cannot often catch the words. It is full of 
long, queer, plaintive modulations. Yester- 
day, the apprentice — a lad of iSiteen — and 
the master of the washermen were singing al- 



30 OUT OF THE STREET 

ternately, as if answering eacli other ; the con- 
trast between the tones of the man, sonorous 
as if boomed through a conch, and the clarion 
alto of the boy, being very pleasant to hear. 
Whereupon I called Manyemon and asked 
him what the singing was about. 

" The song of the boy," he said, " is an old 
song : — 

Things never changed since the Time of the Gods : 
The flowing of water, the Way of Love. 

I heard it often when I was myself a boy.'* 
" And the other song ? " 
'' The other song is probably new : — 

Three years thought of her, 
Five years sought for her; 
Only for one night held her in my arms. 

A very foolish song ! " 

" I don't know," I said. " There are famous 
Western romances containing nothing wiser. 
And what is the rest of the song ? " 

" There is no more : that is the whole of the 
song. If it be honorably desired, I can write 
down the songs of the washermen, and the 
songs which are sung in this street by the 
smiths and the carpenters and the bamboo- 



OUT OF THE STREET 31 

weavers and the rice-cleaners. But they are 
all nearly the same." 

Thus came it to pass that Manyemon made 
for me a collection of Vulgar Songs. 

By " vulgar " Manyemon meant written in 
the speech of the common people. He is him- 
self an adept at classical verse, and despises 
the hayari-uta^ or ditties of the day ; it re- 
quires something very delicate to please him. 
And what pleases him I am not qualified to 
write about ; for one must be a very good 
Japanese scholar to meddle with the superior 
varieties of Japanese poetry. If you care to 
know how difficult the subject is, just study 
the chapter on prosody in Aston's Grammar 
of the Japanese Written Language, or the 
introduction to Professor Chamberlain's Clas- 
sical Poetry of the Japanese. Her poetry is 
the one original art which Japan has certainly 
not borrowed either from China or from any 
other country ; and its most refined charm is 
the essence, irreproducible, of the very flower 
of the language itself : hence the difficulty of 
representing, even partially, in any Western 
tongue, its subtler delicacies of sentiment, 



32 OUT OF THE STREET 

allusion, and color. But to understand the 
compositions of the people no scholarship is 
needed : they are characterized by the greatest 
possible simplicity, directness, and sincerity. 
The real art of them, in short, is their absolute 
artlessness. That was why I wanted them. 
Springing straight from the heart of the eter- 
nal youth of the race, these little gushes of 
song, like the untaught poetry of every peo- 
ple, utter what belongs to all human experi- 
ence rather than to the limited life of a class 
or a time ; and even in their melodies still 
resound the fresh and powerful pulsings of 
their primal source. 

Manyemon had written down forty-seven 
songs ; and with his help I made free render- 
ings of the best. They were very brief, vary- 
ing from seventeen to thirty-one syllables in 
length. Nearly all Japanese poetical metre 
consists of simple alternations of lines of five 
and seven syllables ; the frequent exceptions 
which popular songs offer to this rule being 
merely irregularities such as the singer can 
smooth over either by slurring or by prolong- 
ing certain vowel sounds. Most of the songs 



OUT OF THE STREET 33 

which Manyemon had collected were of twenty- 
six syllables only ; being composed of three 
successive lines of seven syllables each, fol- 
lowed by one of five, thus : — 

Ka-mi-yo ko-no-ka-ta » 

Ka-wa-ra-nu mo-no wa : 
Mi-dzu no na-ga-r^ to 
Ko-i no mi-chi.^ 

Among various deviations from this con- 
struction I found 7-7-7-7-5 , and 5-7-7-7-5, and 
7-5-7-5, and 5-7-5 ; but the classical five-line 
form (tanka)^ represented by b-l-b-1-1^ was 
entirely absent. 

Terms indicating gender were likewise ab- 
sent; even the expressions corresponding to 
" I " and " you " being seldom used, and the 
words signifying " beloved " applying equally 
to either sex. Only by the conventional value 
of some comparison, the use of a particular 
emotional tone, or the mention of some detail 
of costume, was the sex of the speaker sug* 
gested, as in this verse : — 

I am the water-weed drifting, — finding no place of attach- 
ment : 
Where, I wonder, and when, shall my flower begin to bloom ? 

1 Literally, " God-Age-since not-changed-things as-for: 
water-of fiowing and love-of way.^ ' 



34 OUT OF THE STREET 

Evidently the speaker is a girl who wishes for 
a lover : the same simile uttered by masculine 
lips would sound in Japanese ears much as 
would sound in English ears a man's com- 
parison of himself to a violet or to a rose. 
For the like reason, one knows that in the fol- 
lowing song the speaker is not a woman : — 

Flowers in both my hands, — flowers of plum and cherry : 
Which will be, I wonder, the flower to give me fruit? 

Womanly charm is compared to the cherry 
flower and also to the plum flower; but the 
quality symbolized by the plum flower is moral 
always rather than physical.^ The verse rep- 
resents a man strongly attracted by two girls : 
one, perhaps a dancer, very fair to look upon ; 
the other beautiful in character. Which shall 
he choose to be his companion for life ? 
One more example : — 

Too long, with pen in hand, idling, fearing, and doubting f 
I cast my silver pin for the test of the tatamizan. 

Here we know from the mention of the hair- 
pin that the speaker is a woman, and we can 
also suppose that she is a geisha ; the sort of 
divination called tatamizan being especially 

^ See Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan, ii. 357. 



OUT OF THE STREET 35 

popular with dancing-girls. The rush cover- 
ing of floor-mats (J^atami)^ woven over a frame 
of thin strings, shows on its upper surface a 
regular series of lines about three fourths of 
an inch apart. The girl throws her pin upon 
a mat, and then counts the lines it touches. 
According to their number she deems herself 
lucky or unlucky. Sometimes a little pipe — 
geishas' pipes are usually of silver — is used 
instead of the hairpin. 

The theme of all the songs was love, as 
indeed it is of the vast majority of the Japa- 
nese chansons des rues et des hois; even 
songs about celebrated places usually contain- 
ing some amatory suggestion. I noticed that 
almost every simple phase of the emotion, from 
its earliest budding to its uttermost ripening, 
was represented in the collection ; and I there- 
fore tried to arrange the pieces according to 
the natural passional sequence. The result 
had some dramatic suggestiveness. 

n 

The songs really form three distinct groups, 
each corresponding to a particular period of 



36 OUT OF THE STREET 

that emotional experience which is the subject 
of all. In the first group of seven the surprise 
and pain and weakness of passion find utter- 
ance; beginning with a plaintive cry of re- 
proach and closing with a whisper of trust. 

I 

You, by all others disliked ! — oh, why must my heart thus like 
you f 

n 

This pain which I cannot speak of to any one in the world: 
Tell me who has made it, — whose do you think the fault ? 

m 

Will it be night forever ? — I lose my way in this darkness : 
Who goes by the path of Love must always go astray ! 

IV 

Even the brightest lamp, even the light electric, 
Cannot lighten at all the dusk of the Way of Low. 



Always the more I love, the more it is hard to say so : 
Oh ! how happy I were should the loved one say it first t 

VI 

Such a little word ! — only to say, " I love you " / 
Why, oh, why do I find it hard to say like this ? ^ 

^ Inimitably simple in the original : — 
Horeta wai na to 
Sukoshi no koto gsk : 
Naz^ ni kono yo ni 
linikui ? 



OUT OF THE STREET 37 

vn 

Clicked-to ^ the locks of our hearts; let the keys remain in our 
bosoms. 

After which mutual confidence the illusion 
naturally deepens ; suffering yields to a joy 
that cannot disguise itself, and the keys of the 
heart are thrown away; this is the second 
stage. 

I 

The person who said before, "J hate my life since I saw you" 
Now after union prays to live for a thousand years. 

n 

You and I together — lilies that grow in a valley : 
This is our blossoming-time — but nobody knows the fact. 

in 

Receiving from his hand the cup of the wine of greeting, 
Even before I drink, I feel that my face grows red. 

1 In the original this is expressed by an onomatope, pinto, 
imitating the sound of the fastening of the lock of a tansu^ 
or chest of drawers : — 

Pinto kokoro ni 
Jomai oroshi : 
Kagi wa tagai no 
Mun^ ni ara« 



38 OUT OF THE STREET 



1 



IV 



I cannot hide in my heart the happy knowledge that Jills it; 
Asking each not to tell, I spread the news all rounds- 



All crows alike are black, everywhere under heaven. 
The person that others like, why should not I like too f 

VI 

Going to see the beloved, a thousand ri are as one ri ; * 
JReturning without having seen, one ri is a thousand ri. 

vn 

Going to see the beloved, even the water of rice-fields ^ 
Ever becomes, as I drink, nectar of gods * to the taste. 

^ Much simpler in the original : — 
Mun^ ni tsutsumenu 
Ur^shii koto wa ; — 
Kuchidom^ shinagara 
Fur^aruku. 

2 One ri is equal to about two and a half English miles. 

^ In the original dorota; literally "mud rice-fields," — 
meaning rice-fields dviring the time of flushing, before the 
grain has fairly grown up. The whole verse reads : — 

.: Horet^ kayoyeba 

Dorota no midzu mo 
Nom^ba kanro no 
Aji ga suru. 
* Kanro, a Buddhist word, properly written with two 
Chinese characters signifying "sweet dew." The real mean- 
ing is amrita, the drink of the gods. 



OUT OF THE STREET 39 



vin 



You, till a hundred years ; J, until nine and ninety ; 
Together we still shall he in the time when the hair turns white. 



IX 



Seeing the face, at once the folly I wanted to utter 

All melts out of my thought, and somehow the tears come first ! ^ 



Crying for joy made wet my sleeve that dries too quickly : 
^T is not the same with the heart, — that cannot dry so soon ! 

XI 

To Heaven with all my soul I prayed to prevent your going ; 
Already, to keep you with me, answers the blessed rain. 

So passes the period of illusion. The rest 
is doubt and pain ; only the love remains to 
challenge even death : — 



Parted from you, my beloved, I go alone to the pine field ; 
There is dew of night on the leaves ; there is also dew of tears. 

^ litai gnclil say^ 
Kao miriya kiy^t^ 
Tokaku namida ga 
Saki ni deru. 

The use of tokaku ("somehow," f or " some reason or 
other ") gives a peculiar pathos to the utterance. 



40 OUT OF THE STREET 



n 



Even to see the birds flying freely above me 

Only deepens my sorrow, — makes me thoughtful the more. 



in 



Coming ? or coming not ? Far down the river gazing, — 
Only yomogi shadows ^ astir in the bed of the stream. 



IV 



Letters come by the post ; photographs give me the shadow I 
Only one thing remains which I cannot hope to gain. 



If I may not see the face, but only look at the letter, 
Then it were better far only in dreams to see. 

VI 

Though his body were broken to pieces, though his bones on the 

shore were bleaching, 
I would find my way to rejoin him, after gathering up the 

bones.^ 

1 The plant yomogi (Artemisia vulgaris) grows wild in 
many of the half -dry beds of the Japanese rivers. 
.: 2 Mi wa kuda kuda ni 

Hon^ wo isob^ ni 
Sarasoto mama yo 
Hiroi atsum^t^ 

Sot^ misho. 
The only song of this form in the collection. The use of 
the verb soi implies union as husband and wife 



OUT OF THE STREET 41 



m 

Thus was it that these little songs, com- 
posed in different generations and in different 
parts of Japan by various persons, seemed to 
shape themselves for me into the ghost of a 
romance, — into the shadow of a story need- 
ing no name of time or place or person, be- 
cause eternally the same, in all times and 
places. 

Manyemon asks which of the songs I like 
best ; and I turn over his manuscript again to 
see if I can make a choice. Without, in the 
bright spring air, the washers are working; 
and I hear the heavy pon-pon of the beating 
of wet robes, regular as the beating of a heart. 
Suddenly, as I muse, the voice of the boy 
soars up in one long, clear, shrill, splendid 
rocket-tone, — and breaks, — and softly trem- 
bles down in coruscations of fractional notes ; 
singing the song that Manyemon remembers 
hearing when he himself was a boy : — 

Things never changed since the Time of the Gods : 
The flowing of water, the Way of Love. 



42 OUT OF THE STREET 

" I think that is the best," I said. " It is 
the soul of all the rest." 

" Hin no nusubito, koi no uta," interpreta- 
tively murmurs Manyemon. " Even as out 
of poverty comes the thief, so out of love the 
song ! '* 



in 

NOTES OF A TRIP TO KY5T0 



It had been intended to celebrate in spring 
the eleven hundredth anniversary of the foun- 
dation of Kyoto; but the outbreak of pesti- 
lence caused postponement of the festival to 
the autumn, and the celebration began on the 
15th of the tenth month. Little festival med- 
als of nickel, made to be pinned to the breast, 
like military decorations, were for sale at half 
a yen each. These medals entitled the wear- 
ers to special cheap fares on all the Japanese 
railroad and steamship lines, and to other 
desirable privileges, such as free entrance to 
wonderful palaces, gardens, and temples. On 
the 23d of October I found myself in posses- 
sion of a medal, and journeying to Kyoto 
by the first morning train, which was over- 
crowded with people eager to witness the 
great historical processions announced for the 



44 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

24th and 25th. Many had to travel stand- 
ing, but the crowd was good-natured and 
merry. A number of my fellow-passengers 
were Osaka geisha going to the festival. 
They diverted themselves by singing songs 
and by playing ken with some male acquaint- 
ances, and their kittenish pranks and funny 
cries kept everybody amused. One had an 
extraordinary voice, with which she could 
twitter like a sparrow. 

You can always tell by the voices of women 
conversing anywhere — in a hotel, for exam- 
ple — if there happen to be any geisha among 
them, because the peculiar timbre given by 
professional training is immediately recogniz- 
able. The wonderful character of that train- 
ing, however, is fairly manifested only when 
the really professional tones of the voice are 
used, — falsetto tones, never touching, but 
often curiously sweet. Now, the street sing- 
ers, the poor blind women who sing ballads 
with the natural voice only, use tones that 
draw tears. The voice is generally a power- 
ful contralto ; and the deep tones are the 
tones that touch. The falsetto tones of the 
geisha rise into a treble above the natural 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 45 

range of the adult voice, and as penetrating 
as a bird's. In a banquet-hall full of guests, 
you can distinctly hear, above all the sound 
of drums and samisen and chatter and laugh- 
ter, the thin, sweet cry of the geisha playing 
ken, — 

" Futatsu ! futatsu ! futatsu I " ~ 

while you may be quite unable to hear the 
shouted response of the man she plays with, — 

^^Mitsu! mitsu! mitsu!" 
II 

. The first surprise with which Kyoto greeted 
her visitors was the beauty of her festival 
decorations. Every street had been prepared 
for illumination. Before each house had been 
planted a new lantern-post of unpainted wood, 
from which a lantern bearing some appropri- 
ate design was suspended. There were also 
national flags and sprigs of pine above each 
entrance. But the lanterns made the charm 
of the display. In each section of street 
they were of the same form, and were fixed 
at exactly the same height, and were pro- 
tected from possible bad weather by the same 
kind of covering. But in different streets the 



46 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

lanterns were different. In some of the wide 
thoroughfares they were very large ; and while 
in some streets each was sheltered by a little 
wooden awning, in others every lantern had ,^ 
a Japanese paper umbrella spread and fas- 
tened above it. 

There was no pageant on the morning of 
my arrival, and I spent a couple of hours 
delightfully at the festival exhibition of kake- 
mono in the imperial summer palace called 
Omuro Gosho. Unlike the professional art 
display which I had seen in the spring, this 
represented chiefly the work of students ; and 
I found it incomparably more original and 
attractive. Nearly all the pictures, thou- 
sands in number, were for sale, at prices 
ranging from three to fifty yen ; and it was 
impossible not to buy to the limit of one's 
purse. There were studies of nature evi- 
dently made on the spot: such as a glimpse 
of hazy autumn rice-fields, with dragonflies 
darting over the drooping grain ; maples 
crimsoning above a tremendous gorge ; ranges 
of peaks steeped in morning mist ; and a peas- 
ant's cottage perched on the verge of some 
dizzy mountain road. Also there were fine 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 47 

bits of realism, such as a cat seizing a mouse 
in the act of stealing the offerings placed in a 
Buddhist household shrine. 

But I have no intention to try the reader's 
patience with a description of pictures. I 
mention my visit to the display only because 
of something I saw there more interesting 
than any picture. Near the main entrance 
was a specimen of handwriting, intended to 
be mounted as a kakemono later on, and tem- 
porarily fixed upon a board about three feet 
long by eighteen inches wide, — a Japanese 
poem. It was a wonder of calligraphy. In- 
stead of the usual red stamp or seal with 
which the Japanese calligrapher marks his 
masterpieces, I saw the red imprint of a tiny, 
tiny hand, — a living hand, which had been 
smeared with crimson printing-ink and deftly 
pressed upon the paper. I could distinguish 
those little finger-marks of which Mr. Gal- 
ton has taught us the characteristic impor- 
tance. 

That writing had been done in the presence 
of His Imperial Majesty by a child of six 
years, — or of five, according to our Western 
method of computing age from the date of 



48 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

birth. The prime minister, Marquis Ito, saw 
the miracle, and adopted the little boy, whose 
present name is therefore Ito Medzui. 

Even Japanese observers could scarcely be- 
lieve the testimony of their own eyes. Few 
adult calligraphers could surpass that writ- 
ing. Certainly no Occidental artist, even 
after years of study, could repeat the feat 
performed by the brush of that child before 
the Emperor. Of course such a child can 
be born but once in a thousand years, — to 
realize, or almost realize, the ancient Chinese 
legends of divinely inspired writers. 

Still, it was not the beauty of the thing in 
itself which impressed me, but the weird, ex- 
traordinary, indubitable proof it afforded of 
an inherited memory so vivid as to be almost 
equal to the recollection of former births. 
Generations of dead calligraphers revived in 
the fingers of that tiny hand. The thing 
was never the work of an individual child 
five years old, but beyond all question the 
work of ghosts, — the countless ghosts that 
make the compound ancestral soul. It was 
proof visible and tangible of psychological 
and physiological wonders justifying both the 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 49 

Shinto doctrine of ancestor worship and the 
Buddhist doctrine of preexistence. 

Ill 

After looking at all the pictures I visited 
the great palace garden, only recently opened 
to the public. It is called the Garden of the 
Cavern of the Genii. (At least " genii " is 
about the only word one can use to translate 
the term " Sennin," for which there is no real 
English equivalent ; the Sennin, who are sup- 
posed to possess immortal life, and to haunt 
forests or caverns, being Japanese, or rather 
Chinese mythological transformations of the 
Indian Rishi.) The garden deserves its 
name. I felt as if I had indeed entered an 
enchanted place. 

It is a landscape-garden, — a Buddhist 
creation, belonging to what is now simply a 
palace, but was once a monastery, built as a 
religious retreat for emperors and princes 
weary of earthly vanities. The first impres- 
sion received after passing the gate is that of 
a grand old English park : the colossal trees, 
foie shorn grass, the broad walks, the fresh 
aweet scent of verdure, all awaken English 



60 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

memories. But as you proceed farther these 
memories are slowly effaced, and the true 
Oriental impression defines : you perceive 
that the forms of those mighty trees are not 
European ; various and surprising exotic de- 
tails reveal themselves ; and then you are 
gazing down upon a sheet of water contain- 
ing high rocks and islets connected by bridges 
of the strangest shapes. Gradually, — only 
gradually, — the immense charm, the weird 
Buddhist charm of the place, grows and grows 
upon you ; and the sense of its vast antiquity 
defines to touch that chord of the aesthetic 
feeling which brings the vibration of awe. 

Considered as a human work alone, the 
garden is a marvel : only the skilled labor of 
thousands could have joined together the mere 
bones of it, the prodigious rocky skeleton of 
its plan. This once shaped and earthed and 
planted, Nature was left alone to finish the 
wonder. Working through ten centuries, she 
has surpassed — nay, unspeakably magnified 
— the dream of the artist. Without exact 
information, no stranger unfamiliar with the 
laws and the purpose of Japanese garden-con- 
struction could imagine that all this had a 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 51 

human designer some thousand years ago: 
the effect is that of a section of primeval for- 
est, preserved untouched from the beginning, 
and walled away from the rest of the world in 
the heart of the old capital. The rock-faces, 
the great fantastic roots, the shadowed by- 
paths, the few ancient graven monoliths, are 
all cushioned with the moss of ages ; and 
climbing things have developed stems a foot 
thick, that hang across spaces like monstrous 
serpents. Parts of the garden vividly recall 
some aspects of tropical nature in the An- 
tilles ; — though one misses the palms, the 
bewildering web and woof of lianas, the rep- 
tiles, and the sinister day-silence of a West 
Indian forest. The joyous storm of bird life 
overhead is an astonishment, and proclaims 
gratefully to the visitor that the wild crea- 
tures of this monastic paradise have never 
been harmed or frightened by man. As I 
arrived at last, with regret, at the gate of exit, 
I could not help feeling envious of its keeper : 
only to be a servant in such a garden were a 
privilege well worth praying for. 



52 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

IV 

Feeling hungry, I told my runner to take 
me to a restaurant, because the hotel was very 
far ; and the kuruma bore me into an obscure 
street, and halted before a rickety-looking 
house with some misspelled English painted 
above the entrance. I remember only the 
word '' forign." After taking off my shoes I 
climbed three flights of breakneck stairs, or 
rather ladders, to find in the third story a set 
of rooms furnished in foreign style. The win- 
dows were glass ; the linen was satisfactory ; 
the only things Japanese were the mattings 
and a welcome smoking-box. American chro- 
mo-lithographs decorated the walls. Never- 
theless, I suspected that few foreigners had 
ever been in the house : it existed by sending 
out Western cooking, in little tin boxes, to 
native hotels ; and the rooms had doubtless 
been fitted up for Japanese visitors. 

I noticed that the plates, cups, and other 
utensils bore the monogram of a long-defunct 
Enoiish hotel which used to exist in one of 
the open ports. The dinner was served by 
nice-looking girls, who had certainly been 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 53 

trained by somebody accustomed to foreign 
service ; but their innocent curiosity and ex- 
treme shyness convinced me that they had 
never waited upon a real foreigner before. 
Suddenly I observed on a table at the other 
end of the room something resembling a 
music-box, and covered with a piece of cro- 
chet-work! I went to it, and discovered the 
wreck of a herophone. There were plenty 
of perforated musical selections. I fixed the 
crank in place, and tried to extort the music 
of a German song, entitled " Five Hundred 
Thousand Devils." The herophone gurgled, 
moaned, roared for a moment, sobbed, roared 
again, and relapsed into silence. I tried a 
number of other selections, including " Les 
Cloches de Corneville ; " but the noises pro- 
duced were in all cases about the same. Evi- 
dently the thing had been bought, together 
with the monogram-bearing delft and bri- 
tannia ware, at some auction sale in one of 
the foreign settlements. There was a queer 
melancholy in the experience, difficult to ex- 
press. One must have lived in Japan to 
understand why the thing appeared so exiled, 
so pathetically out of place, so utterly misun- 



64 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

derstood. Our harmonized Western music 
means simply so much noise to the average 
Japanese ear ; and I felt quite sure that the 
internal condition of the herophone remained 
unknown to its Oriental proprietor. 

An equally singular but more pleasant ex- 
perience awaited me on the road back to the 
hotel. I halted at a second-hand furniture 
shop to look at some curiosities, and perceived, 
among a lot of old books, a big volume bear- 
ing in letters of much-tarnished gold the title, 
Atlantic Monthly. Looking closer, I saw 
" Vol. V. Boston : Ticknor & Fields. 1860." 
Volumes of The Atlantic of 1860 are not com- 
mon anywhere. I asked the price ; and the 
Japanese shopkeeper said fifty sen, because 
it was "a very large book." I was much 
too pleased to think of bargaining with him, 
and secured the prize. I looked through its 
stained pages for old friends, and found them, 
— all anonymous in 1865, many world-famous 
in 1895. There were installments of "Elsie 
Venner," under the title of " The Professor's 
Story ; " chapters of " Roba di Roma ; " a 
poem called " Pythagoras," but since renamed 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 55 

'* Metempsychosis," as lovers of Thomas Bai- 
ley Aldrich are doubtless aware ; the personal 
narrative of a filibuster with Walker in Nica- 
ragua ; admirable papers upon the Maroons 
of Jamaica and the Maroons of Surinam; 
and, among other precious things, an essay on 
Japan, opening with the significant sentence, 
" The arrival in this country of an embassy 
from Japan, the first political delegation ever 
vouchsafed to a foreign nation by that reticent 
and jealous people, is now a topic of universal 
interest." A little farther on, some popular 
misapprehensions of the period were thus cor- 
rected : " Although now known to be entirely 
distinct, the Chinese and Japanese . . . were 
for a long time looked upon as kindred races, 
and esteemed alike. . . . We find that while, 
on close examination, the imagined attractions 
of China disappear, those of Japan become 
more definite." Any Japanese of this self- 
assertive twenty-eighth year of Meiji could 
scarcely find fault with The Atlantic's esti- 
mate of his country thirty-five years ago : " Its 
commanding position, its wealth, its commer- 
cial resources, and the quick intelligence of 
its people, — not at all inferior to that of the 



56 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

people of the West, although naturally re- 
stricted in its development, — give to Japan 
... an importance far above that of any 
other Eastern country." The only error of 
this generous estimate was an error centuries 
old, — the delusion of Japan's wealth. What 
made me feel a little ancient was to recognize 
in the quaint spellings Ziogoou, Tycoon, Sin- 
too, Kiusiu, Fide-yosi, Nobanunga, — spell- 
ings of the old Dutch and old Jesuit writers, 

— the modern and familiar Shogun, Taikun, 
Shinto, Kyiishu, Hideyoshi, and Nobunaga. 

I passed the evening wandering through 
the illuminated streets, and visited some of 
the numberless shows. I saw a young man 
writing Buddhist texts and drawing horses 
with his feet; the extraordinary fact about 
the work being that the texts were written 
backwards, — from the bottom of the column 
up, just as an ordinary calligrapher would 
write them from the top of the column down, 

— and the pictures of horses were always 
commenced with the tail. I saw a kind of 
amphitheatre, with an aquarium in lieu of 
arena, where mermaids swam and sang Japa* 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 57 

nese songs. I saw maidens " made by glamour 
out of flowers " by a Japanese cultivator of 
chrysanthemums. And between whiles I 
peeped into the toy-shops, full of novelties. 
What there especially struck me was the dis- 
play of that astounding ingenuity by which 
Japanese inventors are able to reach, at a cost 
too small to name, precisely the same results 
as those exhibited in our expensive mechani- 
cal toys. A group of cocks and hens made 
of paper were set to pecking imaginary grain 
out of a basket by the pressure of a bamboo 
spring, — the whole thing costing half a cent. 
An artificial mouse ran about, doubling and 
scurrying, as if trying to slip under mats or 
into chinks : it cost only one cent, and was 
made with a bit of colored paper, a spool of 
baked clay, and a long thread ; you had only 
to pull the thread, and the mouse began to 
run. Butterflies of paper, moved by an 
equally simple device, began to fly when 
thrown into the air. An artificial cuttlefish 
began to wriggle all its tentacles when you 
blew into a little rush tube fixed under >ts 
head. 



68 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

When I decided to return, the lanterns 
were out, the shops were closing ; and the 
streets darkened about me long before I 
reached the hotel. After the great glow of 
the illumination, the witchcrafts of the shows, 
the merry tumult, the sea-like sound of wooden 
sandals, this sudden coming of blankness and 
silence made me feel as if the previous expe- 
rience had been unreal, — an illusion of light 
and color and noise made just to deceive, as 
in stories of goblin foxes. But the quick 
vanishing of all that composes a Japanese 
festival-night really lends a keener edge to 
the pleasure of remembrance : there is no 
slow fading out of the phantasmagoria, and 
its memory is thus kept free from the least 
tinge of melancholy. 



While I was thinking about the fugitive 
charm of Japanese amusements, the question 
put itself. Are not all pleasures keen in pro- 
portion to their evanescence ? Proof of the 
affirmative would lend strong support to the 
Buddhist theory of the nature of pleasure. 
We know that mental enjoyments are power- 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 59 

ful in proportion to the complexity of the 
feelings and ideas composing them ; and the 
most complex feelings would therefore seem 
to be of necessity the briefest. At all events, 
Japanese popular pleasures have the double 
peculiarity of being evanescent and complex, 
not merely because of their delicacy and their 
multiplicity of detail, but because this delicacy 
and multiplicity are adventitious, depending 
upon temporary conditions and combinations. 
Among such conditions are the seasons of 
flowering and of fading, hours of sunshine or 
full moon, a change of place, a shifting of 
light and shade. Among combinations are 
the fugitive holiday manifestations of the race 
genius : fragilities utilized to create illusion ; 
dreams made visible ; memories revived in 
symbols, images, ideographs, dashes of color, 
fragments of melody ; countless minute ap- 
peals both to individual experience and to 
national sentiment. And the emotional re- 
sult remains incommunicable to Western 
minds, because the myriad little details and 
suggestions producing it belong to a world 
incomprehensible without years of familiarity, 
— a world of traditions, beliefs, superstitions, 



60 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

feelings, ideas, about which foreigners, as a 
general rule, know nothing. Even by the 
few who do know that world, the nameless 
delicious sensation, the great vague wave of 
pleasure excited by the spectacle of Japanese 
enjoyment, can only be described as the feel- 
ing of Japan, 

A sociological fact of interest is suggested 
by the amazing cheapness of these pleasures. 
The charm of Japanese life presents us with 
the extraordinary phenomenon of poverty as 
an influence in the development of aesthetic 
sentiment, or at least as a factor in deciding 
the direction and expansion of that develop- 
ment. But for poverty, the race could not 
have discovered, ages ago, the secret of mak- 
ing pleasure the commonest instead of the 
costliest of experiences, — the divine art of 
creating the beautiful out of nothing ! 

One explanation of this cheapness is the 
capacity of the people to find in everything 
natural — in landscapes, mists, clouds, sun- 
sets, — in the sight of birds, insects, and 
flowers — a much keener pleasure than we, 
as the vividness of their artistic presentations 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 61 

of visual experience bears witness. Another 
explanation is that the national religions and 
the old-fashioned education have so developed 
imaginative power that it can be stirred into 
an activity of delight by anything, however 
trifling, able to suggest the traditions or the 
legends of the past. 

Perhaps Japanese cheap pleasures might be 
broadly divided into those of time and place 
furnished by nature with the help of man, and 
those of time and place invented by man at 
the suggestion of nature. The former class 
can be found in every province, and yearly 
multiply. Some locality is chosen on hill or 
coast, by lake or river : gardens are made, 
trees planted, resting-houses built to command 
the finest points of view ; and the wild site is 
presently transformed into a place of pilgrim- 
age for pleasure-seekers. One spot is famed 
for cherry-trees, another for maples, another 
for wistaria ; and each of the seasons — even 
snowy winter — helps to make the particular 
beauty of some resort. The sites of the most 
celebrated temples, or at least of the greater 
number of them, were thus selected, — always 
where the beauty of nature could inspire and 



62 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

aid the work of the religious architect, and 
where it still has power to make many a one 
wish that he could become a Buddhist or 
Shinto priest. Religion, indeed, is every- 
where in Japan associated with famous scen- 
ery: with landscapes, cascades, peaks, rocks, 
islands ; with the best places from which to 
view the blossoming of flowers, the reflection 
of the autumn moon on water, or the spark- 
ling of fireflies on summer nights. 

Decorations, illuminations, street displays 
of every sort, but especially those of holy 
days, compose a large part of the pleasures 
of city life which all can share. The ap- 
peals thus made to aesthetic fancy at festi- 
vals represent the labor, perhaps, of tens of 
thousands of hands and brains ; but each in- 
dividual contributor to the public effort works 
according to his particular thought and taste, 
even while obeying old rules, so that the total 
ultimate result is a wondrous, a bewildering, 
an incalculable variety. Anybody can con- 
tribute to such an occasion ; and everybody 
does, for the cheapest material is used. 
Paper, straw, or stone makes no real differ- 
ence: the art sense is superbly independent 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 63 

of the material. What shapes that material 
is perfect comprehension of something natu- 
ral, something real. Whether a blossom 
made of chicken feathers, a clay turtle or 
duck or sparrow, a pasteboard cricket or man- 
tis or frog, the idea is fully conceived and 
exactly realized. Spiders of mud seem to be 
spinning webs; butterflies of paper delude 
the eye. No models are needed to work 
from ; — or rather, the model in every case is 
only the precise memory of the object or liv- 
ing fact. I asked at a doll-maker's for twenty 
tiny paper dolls, each with a different coiffure, 
— the whole set to represent the principal 
Kyoto styles of dressing women's hair. A 
girl went to work with white paper, paint, 
paste, thin slips of pine ; and the dolls were 
finished in about the same time that an artist 
would have taken to draw a similar number 
of such figures. The actual time needed was 
only enough for the necessary digital move- 
ments, — not for correcting, comparing, im- 
proving : the image in the brain realized 
itself as fast as the slender hands could 
Work. Thus most of the wonders of festival 
nights are created : toys thrown into existence 



64 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

with a twist of the fingers, old rags turned 
into figured draperies with a few motions of 
the brush, pictures made with sand. The 
same power of enchantment puts human grace 
under contribution. Children who on other 
occasions would attract no attention are con- 
verted into fairies by a few deft touches of 
paint and powder, and costumes devised for 
artificial light. Artistic sense of line and 
color suffices for any transformation. The 
tones of decoration are never of chance, but 
of knowledge : even the lantern illuminations 
prove this fact, certain tints only being used 
in combination. But the whole exhibition is 
as evanescent as it is wonderful. It vanishes 
much too quickly to be found fault with. It 
is a mirage that leaves you marveling and 
dreaming for a month after having seen it. 

Perhaps one inexhaustible source of the 
contentment, the simple happiness, belonging 
to Japanese common life is to be found in 
this universal cheapness of pleasure. The 
delight of the eyes is for everybody. Not 
the seasons only nor the festivals furnish 
enjoyment: almost any quaint street, any 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 65 

truly Japanese interior, can give real pleas- 
ure to the poorest servant who works with- 
out wages. The beautiful, or the suggestion 
of the beautiful, is free as air. Besides, no 
man or woman can be too poor to own some- 
thing pretty; no child need be without de- 
lightful toys. Conditions in the Occident are 
otherwise. In our great cities, beauty is for 
the rich ; bare walls and foul pavements and 
smoky skies for our poor, and the tumult of 
hideous machinery, — a hell of eternal ugli- 
ness and joj^lessness invented by our civiliza- 
tion to punish the atrocious crime of being 
unfortunate, or weak, or stupid, or overcon- 
fident in the morality of one's fellow-man. 

VI 

When I went out, next morning, to view 
the great procession, the streets were packed 
so full of people that it seemed impossible 
for anybody to go anywhere. Nevertheless, 
all were moving, or rather circulating ; there 
was a universal gliding and slipping, as of 
fish in a shoal. I find no difficulty in get- 
ting through the apparently solid press of 
heads and shoulders to the house of a friendly 



66 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

merchant, about half a mile away. How any 
crowd could be packed so closely, and yet 
move so freely, is a riddle to which Japanese 
character alone can furnish the key. I was 
not once rudely jostled. But Japanese crowds 
are not all alike : there are some through 
which an attempt to pass would be attended 
with unpleasant consequences. Of course the 
yielding fluidity of any concourse is in pro- 
portion to its gentleness; but the amount of 
that gentleness in Japan varies greatly ac- 
cording to locality. In the central and east- 
ern provinces the kindliness of a crowd seems 
to be proportionate to its inexperience of 
" the new civilization." This vast gathering, 
of probably not less than a million persons, 
was astonishingly good-natured and good-hu- 
mored, because the majority of those com- 
posing it were simple country folk. When 
the police finally made a lane for the pro- 
cession, the multitude at once arranged itself 
in the least egotistical manner possible, — 
little children to the front, adults to the rear. 
Though announced for nine o'clock, the 
procession did not appear till nearly eleven ; 
and the long waiting in those densely packed 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 67 

streets must have been a strain even upon 
Buddhist patience. I was kindly given a 
kneeling-cushion in the front room of the 
merchant's house ; but although the cushion 
was of the softest and the courtesy shown 
me of the sweetest, I became weary of the 
immobile posture at last, and went out into 
the crowd, where I could vary the experience 
of waiting by standing first oh one foot, and 
then on the other. Before thus deserting my 
post, however, I had the privilege of seeing 
some very charming Kyoto ladies, including 
a princess, among the merchant's guests. 
Kyoto is famous for the beauty of its wo- 
men ; and the most charming Japanese woman 
I ever saw was in that house, — not the prin- 
cess, but the shy young bride of the mer- 
chant's eldest son. That the proverb about 
beauty being only skin-deep " is but a skin- 
deep saying " Herbert Spencer has amply 
proved by the laws of physiology; and the 
same laws show that grace has a much more 
profound significance than beauty. The charm 
of the bride was just that rare form of grace 
which represents the economy of force in the 
whole framework of the physical structure, — • 



68 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

the grace that startles when first seen, and 
appears more and more wonderful every time 
it is again looked at. It is very seldom in- 
deed that one sees in Japan a pretty woman 
who would look equally pretty in another than 
her own beautiful national attire. What we 
usually call grace in Japanese women is dainti- 
ness of form and manner rather than what 
a Greek would have termed grace. In this 
instance, one felt assured that long, light, 
slender, fine, faultlessly knit figure would 
ennoble any costume : there was just that 
suggestion of pliant elegance which the sight 
of a young bamboo gives when the wind is 
blowing. 

To describe the procession in detail would 
needlessly tire the reader ; and I shall venture 
only a few general remarks. The purpose of 
the pageant was to represent the various offi- 
cial and military styles of dress worn during 
the great periods of the history of Kyoto, 
from the time of its foundation in the eighth 
century to the present era of Meiji, and also 
the chief military personages of that history. 
At least two thousand persons marched in the 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 69 

procession, figuring daimyo, kuge, hatamoto, 
samurai, retainers, carriers, musicians, and 
dancers. The dancers were impersonated by 
geisha; and some were attired so as to look 
like butterflies with big gaudy wings. All 
the armor and the weapons, the ancient head- 
dresses and robes, were veritable relics of the 
past, lent for the occasion by old families, 
by professional curio-dealers, and by private 
collectors. The great captains — Oda Nobu- 
naga, Kato Kiyomasa, lyeyasu, Hideyoshi — 
were represented according to tradition ; a 
really monkey-faced man having been found 
to play the part of the famous Taiko. 

While these visions of dead centuries were 
passing by, the people kept perfectly silent, — 
which fact, strange as the statement may seem 
to Western readers, indicated extreme pleas- 
ure. It is not really in accordance with na- 
tional sentiment to express applause by noisy 
demonstration, — by shouting and clapping of 
hands, for example. Even the military cheer 
is an importation ; and the tendency to bois- 
terous demonstrativeness in Tokyo is proba- 
bly as factitious as it is modern. I remember 
two impressive silences in Kobe during 1895. 



70 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

The first was on the occasion of an imperial 
visit. There was a vast crowd ; the foremost 
ranks knelt down as the Emperor passed ; but 
there was not even a whisper. The second 
remarkable silence was on the return of the 
victorious troops from China, who marched 
under the triumphal arches erected to wel- 
come them without hearing a syllable from 
the people. I asked why, and was answered, 
" We Japanese think we can better express 
our feelings by silence." I may here observe, 
also, that the sinister silence of the Japanese 
armies before some of the late engagements 
terrified the clamorous Chinese much more 
than the first opening of the batteries. De- 
spite exceptions, it may be stated as a general 
truth that the deeper the emotion, whether of 
pleasure or of pain, and the more solemn or 
heroic the occasion, in Japan, the more natu- 
rally silent those who feel or act. 

Some foreign spectators criticised the dis- 
play as spiritless, and commented on the unhe- 
roic port of the great captains and the undis- 
guised fatigue of their followers, oppressed 
under a scorching sun by the unaccustomed 
weight of armor. But to the Japanese all 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 71 

this only made the pageant seem more real; 
and I fully agreed with them. As a matter 
of fact, the greatest heroes of military history 
have appeared at their best in exceptional mo- 
ments only ; the stoutest veterans have known 
fatigue ; and undoubtedly Nobunaga and Hi- 
deyoshi and Kato Kiyomasa must have more 
than once looked just as dusty, and ridden or 
marched just as wearily, as their representa- 
tives in the Kyoto procession. No merely 
theatrical idealism clouds, for any educated 
Japanese, the sense of the humanity of his 
country's greatest men : on the contrary, it 
is the historical evidence of that ordinary 
humanity that most endears them to the com- 
mon heart, and makes by contrast more admir- 
able and exemplary all of the inner life which 
was not ordinary. 

After the procession I went to the Dai- 
Kioku-Den, the magnificent memorial Shinto 
temple built by the government, and described 
in a former book. On displaying my medal 
I was allowed to pay reverence to the spirit 
of good Kwammu-Tenno, and to drink a little 
rice wine in his honor, out of a new wine-cup 



72 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

of pure white clay presented by a lovely child- 
miko. After the libation, the little priestess 
packed the white cup into a neat wooden box 
and bade me take it home for a souvenir ; one 
new cup being presented to every purchaser 
of a medal. 

Such small gifts and memories make up 
much of the unique pleasure of Japanese 
travel. In almost any town or village you 
can buy for a souvenir some pretty or curious 
thing made only in that one place, and not to 
be found elsewhere. Again, in many parts of 
the interior a trifling generosity is certain to 
be acknowledged by a present, which, how- 
ever cheap, will seldom fail to prove a sur- 
prise and a pleasure. Of all the things which 
I picked up here and there, in traveling about 
the country, the prettiest and the most be- 
loved are queer little presents thus obtained. 

VII 

I wanted, before leaving Kyoto, to visit the 
tomb of Yuko Hatakeyama. After having 
vainly inquired of several persons where she 
was buried, it occurred to me to ask a Bud- 
dhist priest who had come to the hotel on 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 73 

some parochial business. He answered at 
once, *' In the cemetery of Makkeiji." Mak- 
keiji was a temple not mentioned in guide- 
books, and situated somewhere at the outskirts 
of the city. I took a kuruma forthwith, and 
found myself at the temple gate after about 
half an hour's run. 

A priest, to whom I announced the purpose 
.of my visit, conducted me to the cemetery, — 
a very large one, — and pointed out the grave. 
The sun of a cloudless autumn day flooded 
everything with light, and tinged with spec- 
tral gold the face of a monument on which I 
saw, in beautiful large characters very deeply 
cut, the girl's name, with the Buddhist prefix 
Metsvjo^ signifying chaste and true, — 

EETSUJO HATAKEYAMA YUKO HAKA. 

The grave was well kept, and the grass had 
been recently trimmed. A little wooden awn- 
ing erected in front of the stone sheltered the 
offerings of flowers and sprays of shikimi, and 
a cup of fresh water. I did sincere reverence 
to the heroic and unselfish spirit, and pro- 
nounced the customary formula. Some other 
visitors, I noticed, saluted the spirit after the 



74 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

Shinto manner. The tombstones were so 
thickly crowded about the spot that, in order 
to see the back of the monument, I found I 
should have to commit the rudeness of step- 
ping on the grave. But I felt sure she would 
forgive me ; so, treading reverently, I passed 
round, and copied the inscription : " Yuko, of 
J^agasagori, JCamagavjamachi . . . from 
day of birth always good. . . . Meiji, the 
twentyfourth year^ the fifth months the twen- 
tieth day . . . cause of sorrow the country 
having . . . the Kyoto government-house to 
went , . . a7id her own throat cut . . . 
twenty arid seven years . . . Tani Tetsu- 
omi made . . . Kyotofolk-hy erected this 
stone is.^"* The Buddhist Kaimyo read, " Gl- 
yu-in-ton-shi-chu-myo-hyo^'' — apparently sig- 
nifying, " Kight-meaning and valiant woman, 
instantly attaining to the admirable doctrine 
of loyalty." 

In the temple, the priest showed me the 
relics and mementos of the tragedy : a small 
Japanese razor, blood-crusted, with the once 
white soft paper thickly wrapped round its 
handle caked into one hard red mass; the 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 75 

cheap purse ; the girdle and clothing, blood- 
stiffened (all except the kimono, washed by 
order of the police before having been given 
to the temple) ; letters and memoranda ; pho- 
tographs, which I secured, of Yuko and her 
tomb ; also a photograph of the gathering in 
the cemetery, where the funeral rites were 
performed by Shinto priests. This fact inter- 
ested me; for, although condoned by Bud- 
dhism, the suicide could not have been re- 
garded in the same light by the two faiths. 
The clothing was coarse and cheap : the girl 
had pawned her best effects to cover the ex- 
penses of her journey and her burial. I 
bought a little book containing the story of 
her life and death, copies of her last letters, 
poems written about her by various persons, — 
some of very high rank, — and a clumsy por- 
trait. In the photographs of Yuko and her 
relatives there was nothing remarkable : such 
types you can meet with every day and any- 
where in Japan. The interest of the book 
was psychological only, as regarded both the 
author and the subject. The printed letters 
of Yuko revealed that strange state of Japa- 
nese exaltation in which the mind remains 



76 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

capable of giving all possible attention to the 
most trivial matters of fact, while the terrible 
purpose never slackens. The memoranda gave 
like witness : — 

Meiji twenty-fourth year, ffth month, eighteenth day. 
5 sen to kurumaya from Nihonbashi to Uyeno. 
Nineteenth day. 

5 sen to kurumaya to Asakusa Umamachi. 

1 sen 5 rin for sharpening something to hair-dresser in 

Shitaya. 
10 yen received from Sano, the pawnbroker in Baba. 
20 sen for train to Shincho. 

1 yen 2 sen for train from Hama to Shidzuoka. 

Twentieth day. 

2 yen 9 sen for train from Shidzuoka to Hama. 

6 sen for postage-stamps for two letters. 
14 sen in Kiyomidzu. 

12 sen 5 rin for umbrella given to kurumaya. 

But in strange contrast to the methodical 
faculty thus manifested was the poetry of a 
farewell letter, containing such thoughts as 
these : — 

" The eighty-eighth night " [that is, from 
the festival of the Setsubun] " having passed 
like a dream, ice changed itself into clear 
drops, and snow gave place to rain. Then 
cherry-blossoms came to please everybody ; but 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 77 

now, poor things ! they begin to fall even be- 
fore the wind touches them. Again a little 
while, and the wind will make them fly through 
the bright air in the pure spring weather. Yet 
it may be that the hearts of those who love me 
will not be bright, will feel no pleasant spring. 
The season of rains will come next, and there 
will be no joy in their hearts. . . . Oh ! what 
shall I do ? There has been no moment in 
which I have not thought of you. . . . But all 
ice, all snow, becomes at last free water ; the 
incense buds of the kiku will open even in 
frost. I pray you, think later about these 
things. . . . Even now, for me, is the time of 
frost, the time of kiku buds : if only they can 
blossom, perhaps I shall please you much. 
Placed in this world of sorrow, but not to stay, 
is the destiny of all. I beseech you, think me 
not unfilial ; say to none that you have lost 
me, that I have passed into the darkness. 
Rather wait and hope for the fortunate time 
that shall come.'* 

The editor of the pamphlet betrayed rather 
too much of the Oriental manner of judging 
woman, even while showering generous praise 



78 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

upon one typical woman. In a letter to the 
authorities Yuko had spoken of a family 
claim, and this was criticised as a feminine 
weakness. She had, indeed, achieved the ex- 
tinction of personal selfishness, but she had 
been " very foolish " to speak about her fam- 
ily. In some other ways the book was disap- 
pointing. Under the raw, strong light of its 
commonplace revelations, my little sketch, 
" Yuko," written in 1894, seemed for the mo- 
ment much too romantic. And yet the real 
poetry of the event remained unlessened, — 
the pure ideal that impelled a girl to take her 
own life merely to give proof of the love and 
loyalty of a nation. No small, mean, dry facts 
could ever belittle that large fact. 

The sacrifice had stirred the feelings of the 
nation much more than it had touched my 
•own. Thousands of photographs of Yuko and 
thousands of copies of the little book about 
her were sold. Multitudes visited her tomb 
and made offerings there, and gazed with ten- 
der reverence at the relics in Makkeiji ; and 
all this, I thought, for the best of reasons. If 
commonplace facts are repellent to what we 
are pleased, in the West, to call " refined feel- 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 79 

ing," it is proof that the refinement is fac- 
titious and the feeling shallow. To the 
Japanese, who recognize that the truth of 
beauty belongs to the inner being, common- 
place details are precious : they help to ac- 
centuate and verify the conception of a heroism. 
Those poor blood-stained trifles — the coarse 
honest robes and girdle, the little cheap purse, 
the memoranda of a visit to the pawnbroker, 
the glimpses of plain, humble, every-day hu- 
manity shown by the letters and the photo- 
graphs and the infinitesimal precision of police 
records — all serve, like so much ocular evi- 
dence, to perfect the generous comprehension 
of the feeling that made the fact. Had Yuko 
been the most beautiful person in Japan, and 
her people of the highest rank, the meaning 
of her sacrifice would have been far less inti- 
mately felt. In actual life, as a general rule, 
it is the common, not the uncommon person 
who does noble things ; and the people, seeing 
best, by the aid of ordinary facts, what is 
heroic in one of their own class, feel them- 
selves honored. Many of us in the West will 
have to learn our ethics over again from the 
common people. Our cultivated classes have 



80 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

lived so long in an atmosphere of false ideal* 
ism, mere conventional humbug, that the real, 
warm, honest human emotions seem to them 
vulgar; and the natural and inevitable pun- 
ishment is inability to see, to hear, to feel, and 
to think. There is more truth in the little 
verse poor Yuko wrote on the back of her 
mirror than in most of our conventional ideal- 
ism; — 

" By one keeping the heart free from stain, 
virtue and right and wrong are seen clearly 
as forms in a mirror.''^ 

VIII 

I returned by another way, through a quar- 
ter which I had never seen before, — all tem- 
ples. A district of great spaces, — vast and 
beautiful and hushed as by enchantment. No 
dwellings or shops. Pale yellow walls only, 
sloping back from the roadway on both sides, 
like fortress walls, but coped with a coping or 
rooflet of blue tiles ; and above these yellow 
sloping walls (pierced with elfish gates at 
long, long intervals), great soft hilly masses of 
foliage — cedar and pine and bamboo — with 
superbly curved roofs sweeping up through 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 81 

them. Each vista of those silent streets of 
temples, bathed in the gold of the autumn after- 
noon, gave me just such a thrill of pleasure as 
one feels on finding in some poem the perfect 
utterance of a thought one has tried for years 
in vain to exjDress. 

Yet what was the charm made with ? The 
wonderful walls were but painted mud ; the 
gates and the temples only frames of wood 
supporting tiles ; the shubbery, the stonework, 
the lotos -ponds, mere landscape-gardening. 
Nothing solid, nothing enduring ; but a com- 
bination so beautiful of lines and colors and 
shadows that no speech could paint it. Nay I 
even were those earthen walls turned into 
lemon - colored marble, and their tiling into 
amethyst ; even were the material of the tem- 
ples transformed into substance precious as 
that of the palace described in the Sutra of 
the Great King of Glory, — still the aesthetic 
suggestion, the dreamy repose, the mellow 
loveliness and softness of the scene, could not 
be in the least enhanced. Perhaps it is just 
because the material of such creation is so 
frail that its art is so marvelous. The most 
wonderful architecture, the most entrancing 



82 NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 

landscapes, are formed with substance the 
most imponderable, — the substance of clouds. 

But those who think of beauty only in con- 
nection with costliness, with stability, with 
" firm reality," should never look for it in this 
land, — well called the Land of Sunrise, for 
sunrise is the hour of illusions. Nothing is 
more lovely than a Japanese village among 
the hills or by the coast when seen just after 
sunrise, — through the slowly lifting blue 
mists of a spring or autumn morning. But 
for the matter-of-fact observer, the enchant- 
ment passes with the vapors : in the raw, clear 
light he can find no palaces of amethyst, no 
sails of gold, but only flimsy sheds of wood 
and thatch and the unpainted queerness of 
wooden junks. 

So perhaps it is with all that makes life 
beautiful in any land. To view men or na- 
ture with delight, we must see them through 
illusions, subjective or objective. How they 
appear to us depends upon the ethical condi- 
tions within us. Nevertheless, the real and 
the unreal are equally illusive in themselves. 
The vulgar and the rare, the seemingly tran- 
sient and the seemingly enduring, are all 



NOTES OF A TRIP TO KYOTO 83 

alike mere ghostliness. Happiest he wlio, 
from birth to death, sees ever through some 
beautiful haze of the soul, — best of all, that 
haze of love which, like the radiance of this^ 
Orient day, turns common things to gold. 



DUST 

" Let the Bodhisattva look upon all things as having the 
nature of space, — as permanently equal to space ; without 
essence, without suhstantiality. " — Saddharma-Punda- 
rIka. 

I HAVE wandered to the verge of the town ; 
and the street I followed has roughened into a 
country road, and begins to curve away through 
rice-fields toward a hamlet at the foot of the 
hills. Between town and rice-fields a vague 
unoccupied stretch of land makes a favorite 
playground for children. There are trees, 
and spaces of grass to roll on, and many but- 
terflies, and plenty of little stones. I stop to 
look at the children. 

By the roadside some are amusing them- 
selves with wet clay, making tiny models of 
mountains and rivers and rice-fields ; tiny mud 
villages, also, — imitations of peasants' huts, — 
and little mud temples, and mud gardens with 



DUST 85 

ponds and humped bridges and imitations of 
stone-lanterus (tbro^ ; likewise miniature cem- 
eteries, with bits of broken stone for monu- 
ments. And they play at funerals, — burying 
corpses of butterflies and semi (cicadse), and 
pretending to repeat Buddhist sutras over the 
grave. To-morrow they will not dare to do 
this ; for to-morrow will be the first day of 
the festival of the Dead. During that festi- 
val it is strictly forbidden to molest insects, 
especially semi, some of which have on their 
heads little red characters said to be names of 
Souls. 

Children in all countries play at death. Be- 
fore the sense of personal identity comes, death 
cannot be seriously considered ; and childhood 
thinks in this regard more correctly, perhaps, 
than self-conscious maturity. Of course, if 
these little ones were told, some bright morn- 
ing, that a playfellow had gone away forever, 
— gone away to be reborn elsewhere, — there 
would be a very real though vague sense of 
loss, and much wiping of eyes with many-col- 
ored sleeves ; but presently the loss would be 
forgotten and the playing resumed. The idea 
of ceasing to exist could not possibly enter 



86 DUST 

a child-mind: the butterflies and birds, the 
flowers, the foliage, the sweet summer itself, 
only play at dying; — they seem to go, but 
they all come back again after the snow is 
gone. The real sorrow and fear of death arise 
in us only through slow accumulation of expe- 
rience with doubt and pain ; and these little 
boys and girls, being Japanese and Buddhists, 
will never, in any event, feel about death just 
as you or I do. They will find reason to 
fear it for somebody else's sake, but not for 
their own, because they will learn that they 
have died millions of times already, and have 
forgotten the trouble of it, much as one for- 
gets the pain of successive toothaches. In the 
strangely penetrant light of their creed, teach^ 
ing the ghostliness of all substance, granite or 
gossamer, — just as those lately found X-rays 
make visible the ghostliness of flesh, — this 
their present world, with its bigger mountains 
and rivers and rice-fields, will not appear to 
them much more real than the mud landscapes 
which they made in childhood. And much 
more real it probably is not. 

At which thought I am conscious of a 
sudden soft shock, a familiar shock, and know 



DUST 87 

myself seized by the idea of Substance as Non- 
Reality. 

This sense of the voidness of things comes 
only when the temperature of the air is so 
equably related to the temperature of life that 
I can forget having a body. Cold compels 
painful notions of solidity ; cold sharpens the 
delusion of personality; cold quickens ego- 
tism ; cold numbs thought, and shrivels up the 
little wings of dreams. 

To-day is one of those warm, hushed daj^s 
when it is possible to think of things as they 
are, — when ocean, peak, and plain seem no 
more real than the arching of blue emptiness 
above them. All is mirage, — my physical 
self, and the sunlit road, and the slow rippling 
of the grain under a sleepy wind, and the 
thatched roofs beyond the haze of the rice- 
fields, and the blue crumpling of the naked 
hills behind everything. I have the double 
sensation of being myself a ghost and of being 
haunted, — haunted by the prodigious lumi- 
nous Spectre of the World. 

There are men and women working in those 



88 DUST 

fields. Colored moving shadows they are ; and 
the earth under them — out of which they rose, 
and back to which they will go — is equally 
shadow. Only the Forces behind the shadow, 
that make and unmake, are real, — therefore 
viewless. 

Somewhat as Night devours all lesser shadow 
will this phantasmal earth swallow us at last, j 

and itself thereafter vanish away. But the 
little shadows and the Shadow-Eater must as 
certainly reappear, — must rematerialize some- 
where and somehow. This ground beneath 
me is old as the Milky Way. Call it what 
you please, — clay, soil, dust : its names are 
but symbols of human sensations having no- 
thing in common with it. Really it is name- 
less and unnamable, being a mass of energies, 
tendencies, infinite possibilities ; for it was 
made by the beating of that shoreless Sea of 
Birth and Death whose surges billow unseen 
out of eternal Night to burst in foam of stars. 
Lifeless it is not : it feeds upon life, and visi- 
ble life grows out of it. Dust it is of Karma, 
waiting to enter into novel combinations, — - 
dust of elder Being in that state between birth 
and birth which the Buddhist calls Chu-U. 



DUST 89 

It is made of forces, and of nothing else ; and 
those forces are not of this planet only, but of 
vanished spheres innumerable. 

Is there aught visible, tangible, measurable, 
that has never been mixed with sentiency ? — 
atom that has never vibrated to pleasure or to 
pain ? — air that has never been cry or speech ? 
— drop that has never been a tear ? Assur- 
edly this dust has felt. It has been everything 
we know ; also much that we cannot know. 
It has been nebula and star, planet and moon, 
times unspeakable. Deity also it has been, — 
the Sun-God of worlds that circled and wor- 
shiped in other seons. ^'' JRememher^ Man^ 
thou art hut dust! " — a saying prof ound only 
as materialism, which stops short at surfaces. 
For what is dust ? " Remember, Dust, thou 
hast been Sun, and Sun thou shalt become 
again ! . . . Thou hast been Light, Life, 
Love ; — and into all these, by ceaseless cos- 
mic magic, thou shalt many times be turned 
again ! " 

For this Cosmic Apparition is more than 
evolution alternating with dissolution : it is 



90 DUST 

infinite metempsycliosis ; it is perpetual palin- 
genesis. Those old predictions of a bodily 
resurrection were not falsehoods; they were 
rather foreshadowings of a truth vaster than 
all myths and deeper than all religions. 

Suns yield up their ghosts of flame ; but out 
of their graves new suns rush into being. 
Corpses of worlds pass all to some solar fu- 
neral pyre ; but out of their own ashes they 
are born again. This earth must die : her 
seas shall be Saharas. But those seas once 
existed in the sun ; and their dead tides, re- 
vived by fire, will pour their thunder upon the 
coasts of another world. Transmigration — 
transmutation : these are not fables ! What 
is impossible? Not the dreams of alchemists 
and poets ; — dross may indeed be changed to 
gold, the jewel to the living eye, the flower 
into flesh. What is impossible ? If seas can 
pass from world to sun, from sun to world 
again, what of the dust of dead selves, — dust 
of memory and thought ? Resurrection there 
is, — but a resurrection more stupendous than 
any dreamed of by Western creeds. Dead 
emotions will revive as surely as dead suns 
and moons. Only, so far as we can just now 



DUST 91 

discern, there will be no return of identical 
individualities. The reapparition will always 
be a recombination of the preexisting, a read- 
justment of affinities, a reintegration of being 
informed with the experience of anterior be- 
ing. The Cosmos is a Karma. 

Merely by reason of illusion and folly do we 
shrink from the notion of self-instability. Foi' 
what is our individuality ? Most certainly it 
is not individuality at all : it is multiplicity 
incalculable. What is the human body ? A 
form built up out of billions of living entities, 
an impermanent agglomeration of individuals 
called cells. And the human soul ? A com- 
posite of quintillions of souls. We are, each 
and all, infinite compounds of fragments of 
anterior lives. And the universal process that 
continually dissolves and continually constructs 
personality has always been going on, and is 
even at this moment going on, in every one of 
us. What being ever had a totally new feel- 
ing, an absolutely new idea? All our emo- 
tions and thoughts and wishes, however chang- 
ing and growing through the varying seasons 
of life, are only compositions and recomposi- 



92 DUST 

tions of the sensations and ideas and desires of 
other folk, mostly of dead people, — millions 
of billions of dead people. Cells and souls are 
themselves recombinations, present aggrega- 
tions of past knittings of forces, — forces about 
which nothing is known save that they belong 
to the Shadow-Makers of universes. 

Whether you (by you I mean any other 
agglomeration of souls) really wish for im* 
mortality as an agglomeration, I cannot tell. 
But I confess that " my mind to me a king- 
dom is " — not ! Rather it is a fantastical 
republic, daily troubled by more revolutions 
than ever occurred in South America ; and the 
nominal government, supposed to be rational, 
declares that an eternity of such anarchy is 
not desirable. I have souls wanting to soar in 
air, and souls wanting to swim in water (sea- 
water, I think), and souls wanting to live in 
woods or on mountain tops. I have souls 
longing for the tumult of great cities, and 
souls longing to dwell in tropical solitude ; — 
souls, also, in various stages of naked sav- 
agery ; — souls demanding nomad freedom 
without tribute ; — souls conservative, delicate, 
loyal to empire and to feudal tradition, and 



DUST 93 

souls that are Nihilists, deserving Siberia ; — 
sleepless souls, hating inaction, and hermit 
souls, dwelling in such meditative isolation 
that only at intervals of years can I feel 
them moving about ; — souls that have faith 
in fetiches ; — polytheistic souls ; — souls pro- 
claiming Islam ; — and souls mediaeval, lov- 
ing cloister shadow and incense and glimmer 
of tapers and the awful altitude of Gothic 
glooms. Cooperation among all these is not 
to be thought of : always there is trouble, — 
revolt, confusion, civil war. The majority 
detest this state of things : multitudes would 
gladly emigrate. And the wiser minority feel 
that they need never hope for better condi- 
tions until after the total demolition of the 
existing social structure. 

/ an individual, — an individual soul ! Nay, 
I am a population, — a population unthinkable 
for multitude, even by groups of a thousand 
millions ! Generations of generations I am, 
seons of aeons ! Countless times the concourse 
now making me has been scattered, and mixed 
with other scatterings. Of what concern, then, 
the next disintegration ? Perhaps, after tril- 



94 DUST 

lions of ages of burning in different dynasties 
of suns, the very best of me may come together 
again. 

If one could only imagine some explanation 
of the Why ! The questions of the Whence 
and the Whither are much less troublesome, 
since the Present assures us, even though 
vaguely, of Future and Past. But the Why ! 

The cooing voice of a little girl dissolves 
my reverie. She is trying to teach a child 
brother how to make the Chinese character for 
Man, — I mean Man with a big M. First she 
draws in the dust a stroke sloping downwards 
from right to left, so : — 



j^ 



then she draws another curving downwards 
from left to right, thus : — 



X 



joining the two so as to form the perfect J^, or 
character, Mto^ meaning a person of either sex, 
or mankind : — 



A 



DUST 95 

Then she tries to impress the idea of this shape 
on the baby memory by help of a practical 
illustration, — probably learned at school. She 
breaks a slip of wood in two pieces, and man- 
ages to balance the pieces against each other 
at about the same angle as that made by the 
two strokes of the character. " Now see," she 
says : " each stands only by help of the other. 
One by itself cannot stand. Therefore the ji 
is like mankind. Without help one person 
cannot live in this world ; but by getting help 
and giving help everybody can live. If no- 
body helped anybody, all people would fall 
down and die." 

This explanation is not philologically exact ; 
the two strokes evolutionally standing for a 
pair of legs, — all that survives in the modern 
ideograph of the whole man figured in the 
primitive picture-writing. But the pretty 
moral fancy is much more important than the 
scientific fact. It is also one charming exam- 
ple of that old-fashioned method of teaching 
which invested every form and every incident 
with ethical signification. Besides, as a mere 
item of moral information, it contains the 
essence of all earthly religion, and the best 



96 DUST 

part of all earthly philosophy. A world- 
priestess she is, this dear little maid, with her 
dove's voice and her innocent gospel of one 
letter! Verily in that gospel lies the only 
possible present answer to ultimate problems. 
Were its whole meaning universally felt, — 
were its whole suggestion of the spiritual and 
material law of love and help universally 
obeyed, — forthwith, according to the Ideal- 
ists, this seemingly solid visible world would 
vanish away like smoke ! For it has been 
written that in whatsoever time all human 
minds accord in thought and will with the 
mind of the Teacher, there shall not remain 
even one particle of dust that does not enter 
into Buddhahood, 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 



A VERY interesting essay upon the Japa- 
nese art collections in tlie National Library 
was read by Mr. Edward Strange at a meet- 
ing of the Japan Society held last year in i'^ 9L 
London. Mr. Strange proved his apprecia- 
tion of Japanese art by an exposition of its t^ 
principles, — the subordination of detail to 
the expression of a sensation or idea, the sub- 
ordination of the particular to the general. 
He spoke especially of the decorative element \ 
in Japanese art, and of the Ukiyo-ye school 
of color-printing. He remarked that even * ' — 
the heraldry of Japan, as illustrated in little 
books costing only a few pence each, con- 
tained " an education in the planning of 
conventional ornament." He referred to the 
immense industrial value of Japanese stencil ^ 
designs. He tried to explain the nature of 



98 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

the advantage likely to be gained in the art 
of book illustration from the careful study of 
Japanese methods ; and he indicated the influ- 
ence of those methods in the work of such 
artists as Aubrey Beardsley, Edgar Wilson, 
Steinlen Ibels, Whistler, Grasset, Cheret, 
and Lantrec. Finally, he pointed out the 
/ harmony between certain Japanese principles 
, and the doctrines of one of the modern West- 
ern schools of Impressionism. 

Such an address could hardly fail to pro- 
voke adverse criticism in England, because it 
i suggested a variety of new ideas. English 
opinion does not prohibit the importation of 
ideas : the public will even complain if fresh 
ideas be not regularly set before it. But its 
requirement of them is aggressive : it wants 
to have an intellectual battle over them. To 
persuade its unquestioning acceptance of new 
beliefs or thoughts, — to coax it to jump to 
a conclusion, — were about as easy as to 
make the mountains skip like rams. Though 
willing to be convinced, providing the idea 
does not appear " morally dangerous," it must 
first be assured of the absolute correctness of 
every step in the mental process by which the 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 99 

novel conclusion has been reached. That Mr. 
Strange's just but almost enthusiastic admi- 
ration of Japanese art could pass without chal- 
lenge was not possible ; yet one would scarcely 
have anticipated a challenge from the ranks 
of the Japan Society itself. The report, how- 
ever, shows that Mr. Strange's views were 
received even by that society in the character- 
istic English way. The idea that English 
artists could learn anything important from 
the study of Japanese methods was practically 
pooh-poohed ; and the criticisms made by vari- 
ous members indicated that the philosophic 
part of the paper had been either misunder- 
stood or unnoticed. One gentleman inno- 
cently complained that he could not imagine 
" why Japanese art should be utterly wanting 
in facial expression." Another declared that 
there could never have been any lady like 
the ladies of the Japanese prints ; and he de- 
scribed the faces therein portrayed as " abso- 
lutely insane." 

Then came the most surprising incident of 
the evening, — the corroboration of these ad- 
verse criticisms by his excellency the Japa- 
nese Minister, with the apologetic remark that 



100 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

the prints referred to " were only regarded as 
common things in Japan." Common things ! 
Common, perhaps, in the judgment of other 
generations ; aesthetic luxuries to-day. The 
artists named were Hokusai, Toyokuni, Hiro- 
shige, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada ! But his excel- 
lency seemed to think the subject trifling ; for 
he took occasion to call away the attention of 
the meeting, irrelevantly as patriotically, to 
the triumphs of the war. In this he reflected 
faithfully the Japanese Zeitgeist^ which can 
scarcely now endure the foreign praise of Jap- 
anese art. Unfortunately, those dominated 
by the just and natural martial pride of the 
hour do not reflect that while the development 
and maintenance of great armaments — unless 
effected with the greatest economical caution 
— might lead in short order to national bank- 
ruptcy, the future industrial prosperity of the 
country is likely to depend in no small degree 
upon the conservation and cultivation of the 
y national art sense. Nay, those very means 
by which Japan won her late victories were 
largely purchased by the commercial results 
of that very art sense to which his excellency 
seemed to attach no importance. Japan must 



y 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE MiT 101 

continue to depend upon her aesthetic faculty, 
even in so commonplace a field of industry as 
the manufacture of mattings ; for in mere 
cheap production she will never be able to 
undersell China. 

II 

Although the criticisms provoked by Mr. 
Strange's essay were unjust to Japanese art, 
they were natural, and indicated nothing 
worse than ignorance of that art and miscom- 
prehension of its purpose. It is not an art of 
which the meaning can be read at a glance : 
years of study are necessary for a right com- 
prehension of it. I I cannot pretend that I 
have mastered the knowledge of its moods 
and tenses, but I can say truthfully that the 
faces in the old picture-books and in the 
cheap prints of to-day, especially those of 
the illustrated Japanese newspapers, do not 
seem to me in the least unreal, much less 
" absolutely insane." There was a time when 
they did appear to me fantastic. Now I find 
them always interesting, occasionally beauti-' 
ful. If I am told that no other European 
would say so, then I must declare all other 



102 A'BO'Cr FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

Europeans wrong. I feel sure that, if these 
^ faces seem to most Occidentals either absurd 
or soulless, it is only because most Occidentals 
do not understand them ; and even if his ex- 
cellency the Japanese Minister to England be 
willing to accept the statement that no Japa- 
nese women ever resembled the women of the 
Japanese picture-books and cheap prints, I 
must still refuse to do so.^ • Those pictures, 
y I contend, are true, and reflect intelligence, 
grace, and beauty. I see the women of the 
Japanese picture - books in every Japanese 
street. I have beheld in actual life almost 
every normal type of face to be found in a 
Japanese picture-book : the child and the girl, 
the bride and the mother, the matron and the 
grandparent ; poor and rich ; charming or 
commonplace or vulgar. If I am told that 

•^ 1 That Japanese art is capable of great things in ideal 
facial expression is sufficiently proved by its Buddhist 
images. In ordinary prints the intentional conventionalism 
of the faces is hardly noticeable when the drawing is upon 
a small scale ; and the suggestion of beauty is more readily 
perceived in such cases. But when the drawing has a cer- 
tain dimension, — when the face-oval, for instance, has a 
diameter of more than an inch, — the same treatment may 
seem inexplicable to eyes accustomed to elaborated detail. 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 103 

trained art critics who have lived in Japan 
laugh at this assertion, I reply that they can- 
not have lived in Japan long enough, or felt 
her life intimately enough, or studied her art 
impartially enough, to qualify themselves to 
understand even the commonest Japanese 
drawing. 

Before I came to Japan I used to be puz- 
zled by the absence of facial expression in 
certain Japanese pictures. I confess that the 
faces, although not even then devoid of a cer- 
tain weird charm, seemed to me impossible. 
Afterwards, during the first two years of Far- 
Eastern experience, — that period in which 
the stranger is apt to imagine that he is learn- 
ing all about a people whom no Occidental 
can ever really understand, — I could recog- 
nize the grace and truth of certain forms, and 
feel something of the intense charm of color 
in Japanese prints ; but I had no perception 
of the deeper meaning of that art. Even the 
full significance of its color I did not know : 
much that was simply true I then thought 
outlandish. While conscious of the charm of 
many things, the reason of the charm I could 
not guess. I imagined the apparent conven- 



104 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

4 tionalism of the faces to indicate the arrested 
development of an otherwise marvelous art 

^/ faculty. It never occurred to me that they 
might be conventional only in the sense of 
symbols which, once interpreted, would reveal 
more than ordinary Western drawing can ex- 
press. But this was because I still remained 
under old barbaric influences, — influences 
that blinded me to the meaning of Japanese 

V drawing. And now, having at last learned 
a little, it is the Western art of illustration 
that appears to me conventional, undeveloped, 
semi-barbarous. The pictorial attractions of 

y/ English weeklies and of American magazines 
now impress me as flat, coarse, and clumsy. 

^ My opinion on the subject, however, is limited 
to the ordinary class of Western illustration 
as compared with the ordinary class of Japa- 
nese prints. 

Perhaps somebody will say that, even grant- 
ing my assertion, the meaning of any true art 
should need no interpretation, and that the 
inferior character of Japanese work is proved 
by the admission that its meaning is not uni- 
versally recognizable. Whoever makes such 
a criticism must imagine Western art to be 



«^ 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 105 

everywhere equally intelligible. Some of it 
— the very best — probably is ; and some of 
Japanese art also is. But I can assure the 
reader that the ordinary art of Western book 
illustration or magazine engraving is just as 
incomprehensible to Japanese as Japanese 
drawings are to Europeans who have never 
seen Japan. For a Japanese to understand 
our common engravings, he must have lived 
abroad. For an Occidental to perceive the 
truth, or the beauty, or the humor of Japa- 
nese drawings, he must know the life which I 
those drawings reflect. 

One of the critics at the meeting of the 
Japan Society found fault with the absence 
of facial expression in Japanese drawing as ^y 
conventional. He compared Japanese art on 
this ground with the art of the old Egyptians, 
and held both inferior because restricted by 
convention. Yet surely the age which makes 
Laocoon a classic ought to recognize that 
Greek art itself was not free from conven- 
tions. It was an art which we can scarcely 
hope ever to equal ; but it was more conven- 
tional than any existing form of art. And 
since it proved that even the divine could find 



106 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

development within the limits of artistic con« 

vention, the charge of formality is not a 

/ charge worth making against Japanese art. 

^ Somebody may respond that Greek conven- 
tions were conventions of beauty, while those 
of Japanese drawing have neither beauty nor 

' meaning. But such a statement is possible 
only because Japanese art has not yet found 
its Winckelmann nor its Lessing, whereas 
Greek art, by the labor of generations of 
niodern critics and teachers, has been made 
somewhat more comprehensible to us than it 
could have been to our barbarian forefathers. 

J The Greek conventional face cannot be found 
in real life, no living head presenting so large 
a facial angle ; but the Japanese conventional 
face can be seen everywhere, when once the 
real value of its symbol in art is properly 
understood. The face of Greek art repre- 
sents an impossible perfection, a superhuman 
, evolution. The seemingly inexpressive face 
drawn by the Japanese artists represents the 
living, the actual, the every-day. The former 

^ is a dream ; the latter is a common fact. 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 107 

III 

A partial explanation of the apparent phy- i^ 
siognomical conventionalism in Japanese 
drawing is just that law of the subordination 
of individualism to type, of personality to 
humanity, of detail to fe eling, which the mis- 
comprehended lecturer, Mr. Edward Strange, 
vainly tried to teach the Japan Society some- 
thing about. The Japanese artist depicts an ^ 
insect, for example, as no European artist can 
do : he makes it live ; he shows its peculiar 
motion, its character, everything by which it 
is at once distinguished as a type, — and all 
this with a few brush-strokes. But he does 
not attempt to represent every vein upon each 
of its wings, every separate joint of its an- 
tennae : ^ he depicts it as it is really seen at a 
glance, not as studied in detail. We never 
see all the details of the body of a grasshop- 
per, a butterfly, or a bee, in the moment that 
we perceive it perching somewhere ; we ob- 

^ Unless he carves it. In that case, his insect — cut in >/ 
hone or horn or ivory, and appropriately colored — can 
sometimes scarcely he distin^iished from a real insect, ex- 
cept hy its weight, when held in the hand. Such ahsoluta 
realism, however, is only carious, not artistic. 



108 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

serve only enough to enable us to decide what 
kind of a creature it is. We see the typical, | 

^ never the individual peculiarities. Therefore 

J the Japanese artist paints the type alone. 

%/#To reproduce every detail would be to subor- 
dinate the type character to the individual 

J peculiarity. A very minute detail is rarely 
brought out except when the instant recog- 
nition of the type is aided by the recognition 
of the detail ; as, for example, when a ray of 
light happens to fall upon the joint of a crick- 
et's leg, or to reverberate from the mail of a 
dragonfly in a double-colored metallic flash. 
So likewise in painting a flower, the artist 
does not depict a particular, but a typical 
flower : he shows the morphological law of 
the species, or, to speak symbolically, nature's 
thouirht behind the form. The results of this 
method may astonish even scientific men. 
Alfred Russel Wallace speaks of a collection 
of Japanese sketches of plants as " the most 
masterly things " that he ever saw. "Every 
^ stem, twig, and leaf," he declares, " is pro- 
duced hy single touches of the brush; the 
character and perspective of very complicated 
plants being admirably given, and the articu- 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 109 

lations of stem and leaves shown in a most 
scientific manner." (The italics are my 
own.) Observe that while the work is simpli- ^-^ 
city itself, " produced by single touches of 
the brush," it is nevertheless, in the opinion of 
one of the greatest living naturalists, " most «^ 
scientific." And why ? Because it shows u^ 
the type chara cter and the law of the t^e. 
So again, in portraying rocks and cliffs, hills 
and plains, the Japanese artist gives us the 
general character, not the wearisome detail of 
masses ; and yet the detail is admirably sug- 
gested by this perfect study of the larger law. 
Or look at his color studies of sunsets and 
sunrises : he never tries to present every mi- 
nute fact within range of vision, but offers us 
only those great luminous tones and chro- 
matic blendings which, after a thousand petty 
details have been forgotten, still linger in the 
memory, and there recreate the feeling of 
what has been seen. 

Now this general law of the art applies to 
Japanese representations of the human figure, 
and also (though here other laws too come 
into play) of the human face. The general 
types are given, and often with a force that 



110 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

the cleverest French sketcher could scarcely 
emulate ; the personal trait, the individual 
peculiarity, is not given. Even when, in the 
humor of caricature or in dramatic represen- 
tation, facial expression is strongly marked, 
it is rendered by typical, not by individual 
characteristics, just as it was rendered upon 
the antique stage by the conventional masks 
of Greek actors. 

IV 

A few general remarks about the treatment 
of faces in ordinary Japanese drawing may 
help to the understanding of what that treat- 
ment teaches. 

v/ Youth is indicated by the absence of all 
but essential touches, and by the clean, smooth 

.. curves of the face and neck. Excepting the 
touches which suggest eyes, nose, and mouth, 
there are no lines. The curves speak suffi- 
ciently of fullness, smoothness, ripeness. For 

^ story-illustration it is not necessary to elabo- 
rate feature, as the age or condition is indi- 
cated by the style of the coiffure and the 
fashion of the dress. In female figures, the 
absence of eyebrows indicates the wife or 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 111 

widow ; a straggling tress signifies grief ; 
troubled thought is shown by an unmistaliable 
pose or gesture. Hair, costume, and attitude v 
are indeed enough to explain almost every- 
thing. But the Japanese artist knows how, ^^ 
by means of extremely delicate variations in 
the direction and position of the half dozen 
touches indicating feature, to give some hint 
of character, whether sympathetic or unsym- 
pathetic; and this hint is seldom lost upon a 
Japanese eye.^ Again, an almost impercepti- ^ 
ble hardening or softening of these touches 
has moral significance. Still, this is never 

^ In modem Japanese newspaper illustrations (I refer 
particularly to the admirable woodcuts illustrating the 
feuilletons of the Osaka Asahi Shimbun) these indications 
are quite visible even to a practiced foreign eye. The ar- 
tist of the Asahi Shimbun is a woman. 

I am here reminded of a curious fact which I do not re- 
member having seen mention of in any book about Japan. 
The newly arrived Westerner often complains of his inabil- 
ity to distinguish one Japanese from another, and attributes 
this difficulty to the absence of strongly marked physiog- 
nomy in the race. He does not imagine that our more 
sharply accentuated Occidental physiognomy produces the 
very same effect upon the Japanese. Many and many a 
one has said to me, " For a long time I found it very hard 
to tell one foreigner from another : they all seemed to me 
alike." 



112 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

individual : it is only the hint of a physiog- 
nomical law. In the case of immature youth 
(boy and girl faces), there is merely a general 
indication of softness and gentleness, — the 
abstract rather than the concrete charm of 
childhood. 

In the portrayal of maturer types the lines 
are more numerous and more accentuated, — 
illustrating the fact that character necessarily 
becomes more marked in middle age, as the 
facial muscles begin to show. But there is 
only the suggestion of this change, not any 
study of individualism. 

In the representation of old age, the Japa- 
nese artist gives us all the wrinkles, the hol- 
lows, the shrinking of tissues, the " crow's- 
feet," the gray hairs, the change in the line of 
the face following upon loss of teeth. His 
old men and women show character. They 
delight us by a certain worn sweetness of 
expression, a look of benevolent resignation ; 
or they repel us by an aspect of hardened 
cunning, avarice, or envy. There are many 
types of old age ; but they are types of human 
conditions, not of personality. The picture is 
not drawn from a model : it is not the reflec- 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 113 

tion of an individual existence : its value is 
made by the recognition which it exhibits of a 
general physiognomical or biological law. 

Here it is worth while to notice that the 
reserves of Japanese art in the matter of facial 
expression accord with the ethics of Oriental 
society. For ages the rule of conduct has 
been to mask all personal feeling as far as 
possible, — to hide pain and passion under an 
exterior semblance of smiling amiability or of 
impassive resignation. One key to the enig- 
mas of Japanese art is Buddhism. 

V 

I have said that when I now look at a 
foreign illustrated newspaper or magazine I 
can find little pleasure in the engravings. 
Most often they repel me. The drawing seems 
to me coarse and hard, and the realism of the 
conception petty. Such work leaves nothing 
to the imagination, and usually betrays the 
effort which it cost. A common Japanese ^ 
drawing leaves much to the imagination, — 
nay, irresistibly stimulates it, — and never 
betrays effort. Everything in a common i/ 
European engraving is detailed and individ- 



v^ 



114 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

\l ualized. Everytliing in a Japanese drawing 

V is impersonal and suggestive. The former 

reveals no law : it is a study of particularities. 

-^ The latter invariably teaches something of law, 

and suppresses particularities except in their 

relation to law. 

One may often hear Japanese say that 
^ Western art is too realistic ; and the judg- 
ment contains truth. But the realism in it 
which offends Japanese taste, especially in the 
matter of facial expression, is not found fault 
with merely because of minuteness of detail. 
^ Detail in itself is not condemned by any art ; 
and the highest art is that in which detail is 
most exquisitely elaborated. The art which 
saw the divine, which rose above nature's best, 
which discovered supramundane ideals for 
animal and even floral shapes, was character- 
ized by the sharpest possible perfection of 
J detail. And in the higher Japanese art, as in 
the Greek, the use of detail aids rather than 
•^ opposes the aspirational aim. What most 
displeases in the realism of our modern illus- 
tration is not multiplicity of detail, but, as we 
shall presently see, signification of detail. 
The queerest fact about the suppression of 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 115 

physiognomical detail in Japanese art is that 
this suppression is most evident just where 
we should least expect to find it, namely, in 
those creations called " This-miserable-world 
pictures " (Ukiyo-y^), or, to use a correspond- 
ing Western term, " Pictures of this Vale of 
Tears." For although the artists of this school 
have really given us pictures of a very beauti- 
ful and happy world, they professed to reflect 
truth. One form of truth they certainly pre- 
sented, but after a manner at variance with 
our common notions of realism. The Ukiyo- 
ye artist drew actualities, but not repellent or 
meaningless actualities ; proving his rank even 
more by his refusal than by his choice of sub- 
jects. He looked for dominant laws of con- 
trast and color, for the general character of 
nature's combinations, for the order of the 
beautiful as it was and is. Otherwise his art 
was in no sense aspirational ; it was the art of 
the larger comprehension of things as they 
are. Thus he was rightly a realist, notwith- 
standing that his realism appears only in the 
study of constants, generalities, types. And 
as expressing the synthesis of common fact, 
the systematization of natural law, this Japa- 



116 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

nese art is by its method scientific in the true 
</ sense. The higher art, the aspirational art 
(whether Japanese or old Greek), is, on the 
contrary, essentially religious by its method. 
*^ Where the scientific and the aspirational 
extremes of art touch, one may expect to find 
some universal aesthetic truth recognized by 
both. They agree in their impersonality : 
they refuse to individualize. And the lesson 
of the very highest art that ever existed sug- 
gests the true reason for this common refusal. 
What does the charm of an antique head 
express, whether m marble, gemj^t^^-TntiraP 
painting, — for instance, that marvelous head 
6F Xeucothea which prefaces the work of 
Winckelmann? Needless to seek the reply 
from works of mere art critics. Science alone 
can furnish it. You will find it in Herbert 
Spencer's essay on Personal Beauty. The 
beauty of such a head_ signifies a superhu- 
manly_perfect development and balance of the- 
intellectual faculties. All those variations of 
feature constituting what we call " expressioQ " 
represent departures from a perfect type just 
in proportion as they represent what is termed 
" character ; " — and they are, or ought to be, 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 111 

more or less disagreeable or paiuful because 
" the aspects which please us are the outward 
correlatives of inward perfections, and the 
aspects which displease us are the outward 
correlatives of inward imperfections." /^''mr. 
Spencer goes on to say that although there are 
often grand natures behind plain faces, and 
although fine countenances frequently hide 
small souls, " these anomalies do not destroy 
the general truth of the law any more than the 
perturbations of planets destroy the general 
ellipticity of their orbits." 

Both Greek and Japanese art recognized 
the physiognomical truth which Mr. Spencer 
put into the simple formida, " JExpression is 
feature in the making T The highest art, \y 
Greek art, rising above the real to reach the 
divine, gives us the dream of feature per- 
fected. Japanese realism, so much larger than ^ 
our own as to be still misunderstood, gives 
us only "feature in the making," or rather, 
the general law of feature in the making. ^^ 

VI 

Thus we reach the common truth recog- 
nized equally by Greek art and by Japanese 



118 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

V art, namely, tlie non-moral significance of in= 
dividual expression. And our admiration of 
the art reflecting personality is, of course, 
non-moral, since the delineation of individ:ial 
imperfection is not, in the ethical sense, a sub- 
ject for admiration. 

Although the facial aspects which really 
attract us may be considered the outward 
correlatives of inward perfections, or of ap- 
proaches to perfections, we generally confess 
an interest in physiognomy which by no 
means speaks to us of inward moral perfec- 
tions, but rather suggests perfections of the 
reverse order. This fact is manifested even 
in daily life. When we exclaim, " What 
force ! " on seeing a head with prominent 
bushy brows, incisive nose, deep-set eyes, and 
a massive jaw, we are indeed expressing our 
recognition of force, but only of the sort of 
force underlying instincts of aggression and 
brutality. When we commend the character 
of certain strong aquiline faces, certain so- 
called Roman profiles, we are really com- 
mending the traits that mark a race of prey. 
It is true that we do not admire faces in 
which only brutal, or cruel, or cunning traits 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 119 

exist ; but it is true also that we admire the 
indications of obstinacy, aggressiveness, and 
harshness when united with certain indica- 
tions of intelligence. It may even be said 
that we associate the idea of manhood with 
the idea of aggressive power more than with 
the idea of any other power. Whether this 
power be physical or intellectual, we estimate 
it in our popular preferences, at least, above 
the really superior powers of the mind, and 
call intelligent cunning by the euphemism of 
"shrewdness." Probably the manifestation 
in some modern human being of the Greek 
ideal of masculine beauty would interest the 
average observer less than a face presenting 
an abnormal development of traits the re- 
verse of noble, — since the intellectual signifi- 
cance of perfect beauty could be realized only 
by persons capable of appreciating the miracle 
of a perfect balance of the highest possible 
human faculties. In modern art we look for 
the feminine beauty which appeals to the feel- 
ing of sex, or for that child-beauty which ap- 
peals to the instincts of parenthood ; and we 
should characterize real beauty in the por- 
trayal of manhood not only as unnatural, but 



120 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

as effeminate. War and love are still the two 
dominant tones in that reflection of modern 
life which our serious art gives. But it will 
be noticed that when the artist would exhibit 
the ideal of beauty or of virtue, he is still 
obliged to borrow from antique knowledge. 
As a borrower, he is never quite successful, 
since he belongs to a humanity in many re- 
spects much below the ancient Greek level. 
A German philosopher has well said, *'The 
resuscitated Greeks would, with perfect truth, 
declare our works of art in all departments to 
be thoroughly barbarous." How could they 
be otherwise in an age which openly admires 
intelligence less because of its power to create 
and preserve than because of its power to 
crush and destroy? 

Why this admiration of capacities which 
we should certainly not like to have exercised 
against ourselves? Largely, no doubt, be- 
cause we admire what we wish to possess, and 
we understand the immense value of aggres- 
sive power, intellectual especially, in the great 
competitive struggle of modern civilization. 

As reflecting both the trivial actualities and 
the personal emotionalism of Western life, our 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 121 

art would be found ethically not only below 
Greek art, but even below Japanese. Greek ^ 
art expressed the aspiration of a race toward 
the divinely beautiful and the divinely wise. ^ 
Japanese art reflects the simple joy of exist- 
ence, the perception of natural law in form 
and color, the perception of natural law in 
change, and the sense of life made harmoni- 
ous by social order and by self-suppression. ^ 
Modern Western art reflects the thirst of 
pleasure, the idea of life as a battle for the 
right to enjoy, and the unamiable qualities 
which are indispensable to success in the com- 
petitive struggle. 

It has been said that the history of West- 
ern civilization is written in Western physi- 
ognomy. It is at least interesting to study 
Western facial expression throiigh Oriental 
eyes. I have frequently amused myself by 
showing European or American illustrations 
to Japanese children, and hearing their artless 
comments upon the faces therein depicted. 
A complete record of these comments might 
prove to have value as well as interest ; but for 
present purposes I shall offer only the results 
of two exjierimento. 



122 ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 

The first was with a little boy, nine years 
old, before whom, one evening, I placed sev. 
eral numbers of an illustrated magazine. 
After turning over a few of the pages, he 
exclaimed, " Why do foreign artists like to 
draw horrible things ? " 

" What horrible things ? " I inquired. 

" These," he said, pointing to a group of 
figures representing voters at the polls. 

" Why, those are not horrible," I answered. 
'* We think those drawings very good." 

" But the faces ! There cannot really be 
such faces in the world." 

" We think those are ordinary men. Really 
horrible faces we very seldom draw." 

He stared in surprise, evidently suspecting 
that I was not in earnest. 

To a little girl of eleven I showed some 
engravings representing famous European 
beauties. 

"They do not look bad," was her com. 
ment. " But they seem so much like men, 
and their eyes are so big ! . . . Their mouths 
are pretty." 

The mouth signifies a great deal in Japa- 



ABOUT FACES IN JAPANESE ART 123 

nese physiognomy, and the child was in this 
regard appreciative. I then showed her some 
drawings from life, in a New York periodical. 
She asked, " Is it true that there are people 
like those pictures ? '* 

" Plenty," I said. " Those are good, com- 
mon faces, — mostly country folk, farmers." 

" Farmers ! They are like Oni [demons] 
from the jig ohu [Buddhist hell]." 

"No," I answered, "there is nothing very 
bad in those faces. We have faces in the 
West very much worse." 

"Only to see them," she exclaimed, "I 
should die I I do not like this book." 

I set before her a Japanese picture-book, — 
a book of views of the Tokaido. She clapped 
her hands joyfully, and pushed my half-i»^ 
spected foreign magazine out of the way. 



VT 

NINGYO-NO-HAKA 

Manyemon had coaxed the child indoors, 
and made her eat. She appeared to be about 
eleven years old, intelligent, and pathetically 
docile. Her name was Ine, which means 
'''springing rice ; " and her frail slimness made 
the name seem appropriate. 

When she began, nnder Manyemon's gentle 
persuasion, to tell her story, I anticipated some- 
thing queer from the accompanying change in 
her voice. She spoke in a high thin sweet 
tone, perfectly even, — a tone changeless and 
unemotional as the chanting of the little ket- 
tle over its charcoal bed. Not unfrequently in 
Japan one may hear a girl or a woman utter 
something touching or cruel or terrible in 
just such a steady, level, penetrating tone, but 
never anything indifferent. It always means 
that feeling is being kept under control. 

" There were six of us at home," said Ine, — 
" mother and father and father's mother, who 



NINGYO-NO-HAKA 125 

was very old, and my brother and myself, 
and a little sister. Father was a hydguya^ a 
paper-hanger: he papered sliding-screens and 
also momited kakemono. Mother was a hair- 
dresser. My brother was apprenticed to a 
seal-cutter. 

" Father and mother did well : mother made 
even more money than father. We had good 
clothes and good food ; and we never had any 
real sorrow until father fell sick. 

" It was the middle of the hot season. Fa- 
ther had always been healthy : we did not 
think that his sickness was dangerous, and he 
did not think so himself. But the very next 
day he died. We were very much surprised. 
Mother tried to hide her heart, and to wait 
upon her customers as before. But she was 
not very strong, and the pain of father's death 
came too quickly. Eight days after father's 
funeral mother also died. It was so sudden 
that everybody wondered. Then the neighbors 
told us that we must make a ningyo-no-haha 
at once, — or else there would be another 
death in our house. My brother said they 
were right ; but he put off doing what they 
told him. Perhaps he did not have ?ncaey 



126 NINGYO-NO-HAKA 

enough, I do not know; but the haka was 
not made." . . . 

"What is a ningyo-no-liakaV I inter- 
rupted. 

" I think," Manyemon made answer, " that 
you have seen many ningyo-no-haka without 
knowing what they were ; — they look just like 
graves of children. It is believed that when 
two of a family die in the same year, a third 
also must soon die. There is a saying. Al- 
ways three graves. So when two out of one 
family have been buried in the same year, a 
third grave is made next to the graves of those 
two, and in it is put a coffin containing only 
a little figure of straw, — wara-ningyo ; and 
over that grave a small tombstone is set up, 
bearing a kaimyo.^ The priests of the temple 
to which the graveyard belongs write the 
kaimyo for these little gravestones. By mak- 
ing a ningyo-no-haka it is thought that a 
death may be prevented. . . . We listen for 
the rest, Ine." 

^ The posthumous Buddhist name of the person buried 
is chiseled upon the tomb or haha. 



NINGYO-NO-HAKA 127 

The child resumed : — 

" There were still four of us, — grand- 
mother, brother, myself, and my little sister. 
My brother was nineteen years old. He had 
finished his apprenticeship just before father 
died : we thought that was like the pity of the 
gods for us. He had become the head of the 
house. He was very skillful in his business, 
and had many friends : therefore he could 
maintain us. He made thirteen yen the first 
month ; — that is very good for a seal-cutter. 
One evening he came home sick : he said that 
his head hurt him. Mother had then been dead 
forty-seven days. That evening he could not 
eat. Next morning he was not able to get up ; 
— he had a very hot fever : we nursed him as 
well as we could, and sat up at night to watch 
by him ; but he did not get better. On the 
morning of the third day of his sickness we 
became frightened — because he began to talk 
to mother. It was the forty-ninth day after 
mother's death, — the day the Soul leaves the 
house ; — and brother spoke as if mother was 
calling him : — ' Yes, mother, yes ! — in a little 
while I shall come ! ' Then he told us that 
mother was pulling him by the sleeve. He 



128 NINGYO-NO-HAKA 

would point with his hand and call to us : — ■ 
' There she is ! — there ! — do you not see 
her ? ' We would tell him that we could not 
see anything. Then he would say, ' Ah ! you 
did not look quick enough : she is hiding 
now; — she has gone down under the floor- 
mats.' All the morning he talked like that. 
At last grandmother stood up, and stamped 
her foot on the floor, and reproached mother, 
— speaking very loud. ' Taka ! ' she said, 
' Taka, what you do is very wrong. When you 
were alive we all loved you. None of us ever 
spoke unkind words to you. Why do you 
now want to take the boy ? You know that 
he is the only pillar of our house. You know 
that if you take him there will not be any one 
to care for the ancestors. You know that if 
you take him, you will destroy the family 
name ! O Taka, it is cruel ! it is shameful ! 
it is wicked ! ' Grandmother was so angry that 
all her body trembled. Then she sat down and 
cried ; and I and my little sister cried. But 
our brother said that mother was still pulliug 
him by the sleeve. When the sun went down, 
he died. 

" Grandmother wept, and stroked us, and 



NINGYO-NO-HAKA 129 

sang a little song that she made herself. I 
can remember it still : — 

Oya no nai ho to 
Hamab4 no chidori: 
Higuri-higure ni 

Sodi shiboru.^ 

" So the third grave was made, — but it 
was not a ningyo-no-lialca ; — and that was 
the end of our house. We lived with kin- 
dred until winter, when grandmother died. 
She died in the night, — when, nobody knew : 
in the morning she seemed to be sleeping, 
but she was dead. Then I and my little sis- 
ter were separated. My sister was adojDted 
by a tatamiya^ a mat-maker, — one of father's 
friends. She is kindly treated : she even goes 
to school ! " 

^ " Children without parents, like the seagulls of the 
coast. Evening' after evening the sleeves are wrung." 
Tlie word chidori — indiscriminately applied to many kinds 
of birds, — is here used for seagull. The cries of the sea- 
gull are thought to express melancholy and desolation : 
hence the comparison. The long sleeve of the Japanese 
robe is used to wij)e the eyes as well as to hide the face in 
moments of grief. To "wring the sleeve " — that is, to 
wring the moisture from a tear-drenched sleeve — is a fre- 
quent expression in Japanese poetry. 



130 NINGYO-NO-HAKA 

" Aa fushigi na koto da ! — aa Tcomatta 
neV murmured Manyemon. Then there was 
a moment or two of sympathetic silence. Ine 
prostrated herself in thanks, and rose to de- 
part. As she slipped her feet under the thongs 
of her sandals, I moved toward the spot where 
she had been sitting, to ask the old man a 
question. She perceived my intention, and 
immediately made an indescribable sign to 
Manyemon, who responded by checking me 
just as I was going to sit down beside him. 

" She wishes," he said, " that the master 
will honorably strike the matting first.'* 

" But why ? " I asked in surprise, — ' no- 
ticing only that under my unshod feet, the 
spot where the child had been kneeling felt 
comfortably warm. 

Manyemon answered : — 

"She believes that to sit down upon the 
place made warm by the body of another is 
to take into one's own life all the sorrow 
of that other person, — unless the place be 
stricken first." 

Whereat I sat down without performing 
the rite ; and we both laughed. 

" Ine," said Manyemon, " the master takes 



NINGYO-NO-HAKA 131 

your sorrows upon him. He wants " — (I 
cannot venture to render Manyemon's hon- 
orifics) — "to understand the pain of other 
people. You need not tear for him, InCo" 



IN OSAKA 

Takaki ya ni 
NoboriU viiriba 

Kemuri tatsu ; — 
Tami no kamado wa 
Nigiwai ni keri. 

(When I ascend a high place and look about me, lo I the 

smoke is rising : the cooking ranges of the people are 

busy.) 

Song of the Emperor Nintoku. 



Nearly three hundred years ago, Captain 
John Saris, visiting Japan in the service of 
the " Right Honourable Companye, ye. mar- 
chants of London trading into ye. East In- 
dyes," wrote concerning the great city of 
Osaka (as the name is now transliterated) : — 
" We found Osaca to be a very great towne, 
as great as London within the walls, with 
many faire timber bridges of a great height, 
seruing to passe ouer a riiier there as wide as 
the Thames at London. Some faire houses 



IN OSAKA 133 

we found there, but not many. It is one of 
the chiefe sea-ports of all lapan ; hauing a 
castle in it, maruellous large and strong" 
. . . What Captain Saris said of the Osaka 
of the seventeenth century is almost equally 
true of the Osaka of to-day. It is still a very 
great city and one of the chief seaports of all 
Japan ; it contains, according to the Occiden- 
tal idea, " some faire houses ; " it has many 
"faire timber bridges " (as well as bridges 
of steel and stone) — " seruing to passe ouer 
a river as wide as the Thames at London," — 
the Yodogawa ; and the castle " marvellous 
large and strong," built by Hideyoshi after 
the plan of a Chinese fortress of the Han 
dynasty, still remains something for military 
engineers to wonder at, in spite of the dis- 
appearance of the many-storied towers, and 
the destruction (in 1868) of the magnificent 
palace. 

Osaka is more than two thousand five hun- 
dred years old, and therefore one of the most 
ancient cities of Japan, — though its present 
name, a contraction of Oye no Saka, meaning 
the High Land of the Great River, is be- 
lieved to date back only to the fifteenth cen- 



134 IN OSAKA 

tury, before which time it was called Naniwa. 
Centuries before Europe knew of the exist- 
ence of Japan, Osaka was the great financial 
and commercial centre of the empire ; and it 
is that still. Through all the feudal era, the 
merchants of Osaka were the bankers and 
creditors of the Japanese princes : they ex- 
chan2:ed the revenues of rice for silver and 
gold; — they kept in their miles of fireproof 
warehouses the national stores of cereals, of 
cotton, and of silk ; — and they furnished to 
great captains the sinews of war. Hideyoshi 
made Osaka his military capital ; — lyeyasu, 
jealous and keen, feared the great city, and 
deemed it necessary to impoverish its capital- 
ists because of their financial power. 

The Osaka of 1896, covering a vast area 
has a population of about 670,000. As to 
extent and population, it is now only the sec- 
ond city of the empire ; but it remains, as 
Count Okuma remarked in a recent speech, 
financially, industrially, and commercially su- 
perior to Tokyo. Sakai, and Hyogo, and 
Kobe are really but its outer ports ; and the 
last-named is visibly outgrowing Yokohama. 
It is confidently predicted, both by foreigners 



IN OSAKA 135 

and by Japanese, that Kobe will become the 
chief port of foreign trade, because Osaka is 
able to attract to herself the best business 
talent of the country. At present the foreign 
import and export trade of Osaka represents 
about 1120,000,000 a year; and its inland 
and coasting trade are immense. Almost 
everything which everybody wants is made in 
Osaka ; and there are few comfortable Japa- 
nese homes in any part of the empire to the 
furnishing of which Osaka industry has not 
contributed something. This was probably 
the case long before Tokyo existed. There 
survives an ancient song of which the burden 
runs, — " Every day to Osaka come a thou- 
sand ships.''^ Junks only, in the time when 
the song was written ; steamers also to-day, 
and deep-sea travelers of all rigs. Along the 
wharves you can ride for miles by a seemingly 
endless array of masts and funnels, — though 
the great Trans-Pacific liners and European 
mail-steamers draw too much water to enter 
the harbor, and receive their Osaka freight at 
Kobe. But the energetic city, which has its 
own steamship companies, now proposes to im- 
prove its port, at a cost of 116,000,000. An 



136 IN OSAKA 

Osaka with a population of two millions, and 
a foreign trade of at least 1300,000,000 a 
year, is not a dream impossible to realize in 
the next half century. I need scarcely say 
that Osaka is the centre of the great trade- 
guilds,^ and the headquarters of those cotton- 
spinning companies whose mills, kept running 
with a single shift twenty-three hours out of 
the twenty-four, turn out double the quantity 
of yarn per spindle that English mills turn 
out, and from thirty to forty per cent, more 
than the mills of Bombay. 

Every great city in the world is believed 
to give a special character to its inhabitants ; 
and in Japan the man of Osaka is said to be 
recognizable almost at sight. I think it can 
be said that the character of the man of the 
capital is less marked than that of the man of 
Osaka, — as in America the man of Chicago 
is more quickly recognized than the New 
Yorker or Bostonian. He has a certain quick- 
ness of perception, ready energy, and general 
air of being " well up to date," or even a little 
in advance of it, which represent the result 

^ There are upwards of four hundred commercial com- 
panies in Osaka. 



IN OSAKA 137 

of industrial and commercial intercompetition. 
At all events, the Osaka merchant or manu- 
facturer has a much longer inheritance of 
business experience than his rival of the polit- 
ical capital. Perhaps this may partly account 
for the acknowledged superiority of Osaka 
commercial travelers ; a modernized class, of- 
fering some remarkable types. While jour- 
neying by rail or steamer you may happen to 
make the casual acquaintance of a gentleman 
whose nationality you cannot safely decide 
even after some conversation. He is dressed 
with the most correct taste in the latest and 
best mode ; he can talk to you equally well in 
French, German, or English ; he is perfectly 
courteous, but able to adapt himself to the 
most diverse characters ; he knows Europe ; 
and he can give you extraordinary informa- 
tion about parts of the Far East which you 
have visited, and also about other parts of 
which you do not even know the names. As 
for Japan, he is familiar with the special 
products of every district, their comparative 
merits, their history. His face is pleasing, — 
nose straight or slightly aquiline, — mouth 
veiled by a heavy black moustache : the eye- 



138 IN OSAKA 

lids alone give you some right to suppose that 
you are conversing with an Oriental. Such 
is one type of the Osaka commercial traveler 
of 1896, — a being as far superior to the 
average Japanese petty official as a prince to 
a lackey. Should you meet the same man in 
his own city, you would probably find him in 
Japanese costume, — dressed as only a man 
of fine taste can learn how to dress, and look- 
ing rather like a Spaniard or Italian in dis- 
guise than a Japanese. 

n 

From the reputation of Osaka as a centre 
of production and distribution, one would 
imagine it the most modernized, the least 
characteristically Japanese, of all Japanese 
cities. But Osaka is the reverse. Fewer 
Western costumes are to be seen in Osaka 
than in any other large city of Japan. No 
crowds are more attractively robed, and no , 
streets more picturesque, than those of the 
great mart. 

Osaka is supposed to set many fashions; 
and the present ones show an agreeable ten- 
dency to variety of tint. When I first came 



IN OSAKA 139 

to Japan the dominant colors of male costume 
were dark, — especially dark blue ; any crowd 
of men usually presenting a mass of this 
shade. To-day the tones are lighter ; and 
greys — warm greys, steel greys, bluish greys, 
purplish greys — seem to predominate. But 
there are also many pleasing variations, — 
bronze-colors, gold-browns, " tea-colors," for 
example. Women's costumes are of course 
more varied ; but the character of the fash- 
ions for adults of either sex indicates no 
tendency to abandon the rules of severe good 
taste ; — gay colors appearing only in the at- 
tire of children and of dancing-girls, — to 
whom are granted the privileges of perpetual 
youth. I may observe that the latest fashion 
in the silk upper-dress, or Jiaori, of geisha, 
is a burning sky - blue, — a tropical color 
that makes the profession of the wearer dis- 
tinguishable miles away. The higher -class 
geisha, however, affect sobriety in dress. I 
must also speak of the long overcoats or 
overcloaks worn out-of-doors in cold weather 
by both sexes. That of the men looks like an 
adaptation and modification of our " ulster," 
and has a little cape attached to it : the mate- 



UO IN OSAKA 

rial is wool, and the color usually light brown 
or grey. That of the ladies, which has no 
cape, is usually of black broadcloth, with 
much silk binding, and a collar cut low in 
front. It is buttoned from throat to feet, and 
looks decidedly genteel, though left very wide 
and loose at the back to accommodate the bow 
of the great heavy silk girdle beneath. 

Architecturally not less than fashionably, 
Osaka remains almost as Japanese as anybody 
could wish. Although some wide thorough- 
fares exist, most of the streets are very nar- 
row, — even more narrow than those of Ky- 
oto. There are streets of three-story houses 
and streets of two-story houses ; but there are 
square miles of houses one story high. The 
great mass of the city is an agglomeration of 
low wooden buildings with tiled roofs. Nev- 
ertheless the streets are more interesting, 
brighter, quainter in their signs and sign- 
painting, than the streets of Tokyo ; and the 
city as a whole is more picturesque than Tokyo 
because of its waterways. It has not inaptly 
been termed the Venice of Japan ; for it is 
traversed in all directions by canals, besides 



IN OSAKA 141 

being separated into several large portions by 
the branchings of the Yodogawa. The streets 
facing the river are, however, much less inter- 
esting than the narrow canals. 

Anything more curious in the shape of a 
street vista than the view looking down one 
of these waterways can scarcely be found in 
Japan. Still as a mirror surface, the canal 
flows between high stone embankments sup- 
porting the houses, — houses of two or three 
stories, all sparred out from the stonework so 
that their facades bodily overhang the water. 
They are huddled together in a way suggesting 
pressure from behind ; and this appearance of 
squeezing and crowding is strengthened by 
the absence of regularity in design, — no house 
being exactly like another, but all having an 
indefinable Far-Eastern queerness, — a sort of 
racial character, — that gives the sensation 
of the very-far-away in place and time. They 
push out funny little galleries with balus- 
trades ; barred, projecting, glassless windows 
with elfish balconies under them, and rooflets 
over them like eyebrows ; tiers of tiled and 
tilted awnings ; and great eaves which, in cer- 
tain hours, throw shadows down to the foun- 



142 IN OSAKA 

dation. As most of the timber-work is dark, 
— either with age or staining, — the shadows 
look deeper than they really are. Within 
them you catch glimpses of balcony pillars, 
bamboo ladders from gallery to gallery, pol- 
ished angles of joinery, — all kinds of jutting 
things. At intervals you can see mattings 
hanging out, and curtains of split bamboo, 
and cotton hangings with big white ideographs 
upon them ; and all this is faithfully repeated 
upside down in the water. The colors ought 
to delight an artist, — umbers and chocolates 
and chestnut-browns of old polished timber; 
warm yellows of mattings and bamboo screens ; 
creamy tones of stuccoed surfaces ; cool greys 
of tiling. . . . The last such vista I saw was 
bewitched by a spring haze. It was early 
morning. Two hundred yards from the bridge 
on which I stood, the house fronts began to 
turn blue ; farther on, they were transparently 
vapory ; and yet farther, they seemed to melt 
away suddenly into the light, — a procession 
of dreams. I watched the progress of a boat 
propelled by a peasant in straw hat and straw 
coat, — like the peasants of the old picture- 
books. Boat and man turned bright blue and 



IN OSAKA 143 
then grey, and then, before my eyes, 



glided into Nirvana. The notion of immate- 
riality so created by that luminous haze was 
supported by the absence of sound ; for these 
canal-streets are as silent as the streets of 
shops are noisy. 

No other city in Japan has so many bridges 
as Osaka: wards are named after them, and 
distances marked by them, — reckoning al- 
ways from Koraibashi, the Bridge of the Ko- 
reans, as a centre. Osaka people find their 
way to any place most readily by remember- 
ing the name of the bridge nearest to it. 
But as there are one hundred and eighty- 
nine principal bridges, this method of reck- 
oning can be of little service to a stranger. 
If a business man, he can find whatever he 
wants without learning the names of the 
bridges. Osaka is the best-ordered city, com- 
mercially, in the empire, and one of the best- 
ordered in the world. It has always been a 
city of guilds ; and the various trades and 
industries are congregated still, according to 
ancient custom, in special districts or particu- 
lar streets., Thus all the money-changers are 



144 IN OSAKA 

in Kitahama, — the Lombard Street of Japan ; 
the dry-goods trade monopolizes Honmachi ; 
the timber merchants are all in Nagabori and 
Nishi-Yokobori ; the toy-makers are in Mi- 
nami Kiuhojimachi and Kita Midomae ; the 
dealers in metal wares have Andojibashidori 
to themselves ; the druggists are in Doshio- 
machi, and the cabinet-makers in Hachiman- 
suji. So with many other trades ; and so with 
the places of amusement. The theatres are in 
the Dotombori ; the jugglers, singers, dancers, 
acrobats, and fortune-tellers in the Sennichi- 
mae, close by. 

The central part of Osaka contains many 
very large buildings, — including theatres, re- 
freshment-houses, and hotels having a repu- 
tation throughout the country. The number 
of edifices in Western style is nevertheless 
remarkably small. There are indeed between 
eight and nine hundred factory chimneys ; but 
the factories, with few exceptions, are not con- 
structed on Western plans. The really " for- 
eign " buildings include a hotel, a prefectual 
hall with a mansard roof, a city hall with a 
classical porch of granite pillars, a good mod- 
ern post-office, a mint, an arsenal, and sundry 



IN OSAKA 145 

mills and breweries. But these are so scat- 
tered and situated that they really make no 
particidar impression at variance with the 
Far-Eastern character of the city. However, 
there is one purely foreign corner, — the old 
Concession, dating back to a time before 
Kobe existed. Its streets were well laid out, 
and its buildings solidly constructed ; but for 
various reasons it has been abandoned to the 
missionaries, — only one of the old firms, with 
perhaps an agency or two, remaining open. 
This deserted settlement is an oasis of silence 
in the great commercial wilderness.^ No at- 
tempts have been made by the native mer- 
chants to imitate its styles of building: in- 
deed, no Japanese city shows less favor than 
Osaka to Occidental architecture. This is 
not through want of appreciation, but because 
of economical experience. Osaka will build in 
Western style — with stone, brick, and iron 
— only when and where the advantage of so 

^ The foreig-n legations left Osaka to take shelter at Koh^ 
in 1868, during the civil war ; for they could not be very 
well protected by their men-of-war in Osaka. Kob^ once 
settled, the advantages offered by its deep harbor settled 
the fate of the Osaka Concession. 



146 IN OSAKA 

doing is indubitable. There will be no specu- 
lation in such constructions, as there has been 
at Tokyo : Osaka " goes slow " and invests 
upon certainties. When there is a certainty, 
her merchants can make remarkable offers, — 
like that to the government two years ago of 
$56,000,000 for the purchase and reconstruc- 
tion of a railway. Of all the houses in 
Osaka, the office of the " Asahi Shimbun " 
most surprised me. The "Asahi Shimbun" 
is the greatest of Japanese newspapers, — 
perhaps the greatest journal published in any 
Oriental language. It is an illustrated daily, 
conducted very much like a Paris newspaper, 
— publishing a fouilleto7i, translations from 
foreign fiction, and columns of light, witty 
chatter about current events. It pays big 
sums to popular writers, and spends largely 
for correspondence and telegraphic news. Its 
illustrations — now made by a woman — 
offer as full a reflection of all phases of Japa- 
nese life, old or new, as Punch gives of Eng- 
lish life. It uses perfecting presses, charters 
special trains, and has a circulation reaching 
into most parts of the empire. So I certainly 
expected to find the " Asahi Shimbun " office 



IN OSAKA 147 

one of the handsomest buildings in Osaka. 
But it proved to be an old-time Samurai- 
yashiki, — about the most quiet and modest- 
looking place in the whole district where it 
was situated. 

I must confess that all this sober and sen- 
sible conservatism delighted me. The com- 
petitive power of Japan must long depend 
upon her power to maintain the old simplicity 
of life. 

Ill 

Osaka is the great commercial school of the 
empire. From all parts of Japan lads are 
sent there to learn particular branches of 
industry or trade. There are hosts of applica- 
tions for any vacancy ; and the business men 
are said to be very cautious in choosing their 
detchi, or apprentice-clerks. Careful inquiries 
are made as to the personal character and fam- 
ily history of applicants. No money is paid 
by the parents or relatives of the apprentices. 
The term of service varies according to the 
nature of the trade or industry ; but it is gen- 
erally quite as long as the term of apprentice- 
ship in Euroj)e ; and in some branches of 



148 IN OSAKA 

business it may be from twelve to fourteen 
years. Such, I am told, is the time of service 
usually exacted in the dry goods business ; and 
the detchi in a dry goods house may have to 
work fifteen hours a day, with not more than 
one holiday a month. During the whole of 
his apprenticeship he receives no wages what- 
ever, — nothing but his board, lodging, and 
absolutely necessary clothing. His master is 
supposed to furnish him with two robes a year, 
and to keep him in sandals, or geta. Perhaps 
on some great holiday he may be presented 
with a small gift of pocket money ; — but this 
is not in the bond. When his term of service 
ends, however, his master either gives him 
capital enough to begin trade for himself on 
a small scale, or finds some other way of assist- 
ing him substantially, — by credit, for instance. 
Many detchi marry their employers' daughters, 
in which event the young couple are almost 
sure of getting a good start in life. 

The discipline of these long apprenticeships 
may be considered a severe test of character. 
Though a detchi is never addressed harshly, 
he has to bear what no European clerk would 
bear. He has no leisure, — no time of his own 



IN OSAKA 149 

except the time necessary for sleep ; he must 
work quietly but steadily from dawn till late 
in the evening ; he must content himself with 
the simplest diet, must keep himself neat, 
and must never show ill-temper. Wild oats 
he is not supposed to have, and no chance is 
given liim to sow them. Some detchi never 
even leave their shop, night or day, for months 
at a time, — sleeping on the same mats where 
they sit in business hours. The trained sales- 
men in the great silk stores are especially 
confined within doors, — and their unhealthy 
pallor is proverbial. Year after year they 
squat in the same place, for twelve or fifteen 
hours every day ; and you wonder why their 
legs do not fall off, like those of Daruma.^ 

Occasionally there are moral break-downs. 
Perhaps a detchi misappropriates some of the 
shop money, and spends the same in riotous 
living. Perhaps he does even worse. But, 

1 In Japanese popular legend, Daruma (Bodhidharma), 
the great Buddhist patriarch and missionary, is said to have 
lost his legs during a meditation which lasted uninterrupt- 
edly for nine years. A common child's toy is a comical 
figure of Daruma, without legs, and so weighted within 
that, no matter how thrown down, it will always assume an 
upright position. 



150 IN OSAKA 

whatever tlie matter may be, he seldom thinks 
of running away. If he takes a spree, he 
hides himself after it for a day or two ; — 
then returns of his own accord to confess, 
and ask pardon. He will be forgiven for two, 
three, perhaps even four escapades, — provided 
that he shows no signs of a really evil heart, — 
and be lectured about his weakness in its rela- 
tion to his prospects, to the feelings of his 
family, to the honor of his ancestors, and to 
business requirements in general. The diffi- 
culties of his position are kindly considered, 
and he is never discharged for a small misde- 
meanor. A dismissal would probably ruin 
him for life ; and every care is taken to open 
his eyes to certain dangers. Osaka is really 
the most unsafe place in Japan to play the 
fool in; — its dangerous and vicious classes 
are more to be feared than those of the cap- 
ital ; and the daily news of the great city 
furnishes the apprentice with terrible exam- 
ples of men reduced to poverty or driven to 
self-destruction through neglect of those very 
rules of conduct which it is part of his duty to 
learn. 

In cases where detchi are taken into service 



IN OSAKA 151 

at a very early age, and brought up in the 
shop almost like adopted sons, a very strong 
bond of affection between master and appren- 
tice is sometimes established. Instances of 
extraordinary devotion to masters, or members 
of masters' households, are often reported. 
Sometimes the bankrupt merchant is reestab- 
lished in business by his former clerk. Some- 
times, again, the affection of a detchi may 
exhibit itself in strange extremes. Last year 
there was a curious case. The only son of a 
merchant — a lad of twelve — died of cholera 
during the epidemic. A detchi of fourteen, 
who had been much attached to the dead boy, 
committed suicide shortly after the funeral by 
throwing himself down in front of a train. 
He left a letter, of which the following is a 
tolerably close translation, — the selfish pro- 
nouns being absent in the original : 

" Very long time in, august help received ; 
— honorahle mercy even, not in words to he 
declared. Now going to die, unfaithful in 
excess ; — yet another state in, making re- 
birth, honorahle mercy will repay. Sjnrit 
anxious only in the matter of little sister 



152 IN OSAKA 

0-Noto ; — with humble salutation, that she 
be honorably seen to^ supplicate. 
" To the August Lord Master, 
" From 

"MANO YOSHIMATSU:* 

IV 

It is not true that Old Japan is rapidly- 
disappearing. It cannot disappear within at 
least another hundred years ; perhaps it will 
never entirely disappear. Many curious and 
beautiful things have vanished ; but Old Japan 
survives in art, in faith, in customs and habits, 
in the hearts and the homes of the people : it 
may be found everywhere by those who know 
how to look for it, — and nowhere more easily 
than in this great city of ship-building, watch- 
making, beer-brewing, and cotton-spinning. 
I confess that I went to Osaka chiefly to see 
the temples, especially the famous Tennoji. 

Tennoji, or, more correctly, Shitennoji, the 
Temple of the Four Deva Kings,^ is one of 

1 They defend the four quarters of the world. In Japa- 
nese their names are Jikoku, Komoku, Zocho, Bishamon (or 
Tamon) ; — in Sanscrit, Dhritarashtra, Virupaksha, Virud< 
haka, and Vaisravana, — the Kuvera of. Brahmanism. 



IN OSAKA l'''^3 

the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan. It 
was founded early in the seventh century by 
Umayado-no-Oji, now called Shotoku Taishi, 
son of the Emperor Yomei, and prince regent 
under the Empress Suiko (572-621 A. D.). 
He has been well called the Constantine of 
Japanese Buddhism ; for he decided the future 
of Buddhism in the Empire, first by a great 
battle in the reign of his father, Yomei Tenno, 
and afterwards by legal enactments and by 
the patronage of Buddhist learning. The 
previous Emperor, Bitatsu Tenno, had per- 
mitted the preaching of Buddhism by Korean 
priests, and had built two temples. But under 
the reign of Yomei, one Mononobe no Moriya, 
a powerful noble, and a bitter opponent of the 
foreign religion, rebelled against such toler- 
ance, burned the temples, banished the priests, 
and offered battle to the imperial forces. 
These, tradition says, were being driven back 
when the Emperor's son — then only sixteen 
years old — vowed if victorious to build a 
temple to the Four Deva Kings. Instantly at 
his side in the fight there towered a colossal 
figure from before whose face the powers of 
Moriya broke and fled away. The rout of the 



154 IN OSAKA 

enemies of Buddhism was complete and ter- 
rible ; and the young prince, thereafter called 
Shotoku Taishi, kept his vow. The temple of 
Tennoji was built, and the wealth of the rebel 
Moriya applied to its maintenance. In that 
part of it called the Kondo, or Hall of Gold, 
Shotoku Taishi enshrined the first Buddhist 
image ever brought to Japan, — a figure of 
Nyo-i-rin Kwannon, or Kwannon of the Circle 
of Wishes, — and the statue is still shown to 
the public on certain festival days. The tre- 
mendous apparition in the battle is said to 
have been one of the Four Kings, — Bisha- 
mon (Vaisravana), worshiped to this day as 
a giver of victory. 

The sensation received on passing out of 
the bright, narrow, busy streets of shops into 
the mouldering courts of Tennoji is inde- 
scribable. Even for a Japanese I imagine it 
must be like a sensation of the supernatural, 
— a return in memory to the life of twelve 
hundred years ago, to the time of the earliest 
Buddhist mission work in Japan. Symbols of 
the faith, that elsewhere had become for me 
conventionally familiar, here seemed but half 
familiar, exotic^ prototypal ; and things never 



IN OSAKA 155 

before seen gave me the startling notion of 
a time and place out of existing life. As a 
matter of fact, very little remains of the origi- 
nal structure of the temple ; parts have been 
burned, parts renovated. But the impression 
is still very peculiar, because the rebuilders 
and the renovators always followed the origi- 
nal plans, made by some great Korean or 
Chinese architect. Any attempt to write of 
the antique aspect, the queer melancholy 
beauty of the place, would be hopeless. To 
know what Tennoji is, one must see the weird- 
ness of its decay, — the beautiful neutral tones 
of old timbers, the fading spectral greys and 
yellows of wall-surfaces, the eccentricities of 
disjointing, the extraordinary carvings under 
eaves, — carvings of waves and clouds and 
dragons and demons, once splendid with 
lacquer and gold, now time-whitened to the 
tint of smoke, and looking as if about to 
curl away like smoke and vanish. The most 
remarkable of these carvings belong to a fan- 
tastic five-storied pagoda, now ruinous : nearly 
all the brazen wind-bells suspended to the 
angles of its tiers of roofs have fallen. Pa- 
goda and temple proper occupy a quadrangu- 



156 IN OSAKA 

lar court surrounded by an open cloister. Be- 
yond are other courts, a Buddhist school, and 
an immense pond peopled by tortoises and 
crossed by a massive stone bridge. There are 
statues and stone lamps and lions and an 
enormous temple-drum ; — there are booths 
for the sale of toys and oddities ; — there are 
resting-places where tea is served, and cake- 
stands where you can buy cakes for the tor- 
toises or for a pet deer, which approaches the 
visitor, bowing its sleek head to beg. There 
is a two-storied gateway guarded by huge 
images of the Ni-0, — Ni-0 with arms and 
legs muscled like the limbs of kings in the 
Assyrian sculptures, and bodies speckled all 
over with little balls of white paper spat 
upon them by the faithful. There is another 
gateway whose chambers are empty ; — per- 
haps they once contained images of the Four 
Deva Kings. There are ever so many curious 
things; but I shall only venture to describe 
two or three of my queerest experiences. 

First of all, I found the confirmation of a 
certain suspicion that had come to me as I 
entered the temple precincts, — the suspicion 
that the forms of worship were peculiar as the 



IN OSAKA 157 

buildings. I can give no reason for this feel- 
ing; I can only say that, immediately after 
passing the outer gate, I had a premonition of 
being about to see the extraordinary in reli- 
gion as well as in architecture. And I pres- 
ently saw it in the bell-tower, — a two-story 
Chinese-looking structure, where there is a 
bell called the Indo-no-Kane, or Guiding-Bell, 
because its sounds guide the ghosts of chil- 
dren through the dark. The lower chamber 
of the bell-tower is fitted up as a chapel. At 
the first glance I noticed only that a Buddhist 
service was going on ; I saw tapers burning, 
the golden glimmer of a shrine, incense smok- 
ing, a priest at prayer, women and children 
kneeling. But as I stopped for a moment 
before the entrance to observe the image in 
the shrine, I suddenly became aware of the 
unfamiliar, the astonishing. On shelves and 
stands at either side of the shrine, and above 
it and below it and beyond it, were ranged 
hundreds of children's ihai, or mortuary tab- 
lets, and with them thousands of toys ; little 
dogs and horses and cows, and warriors and 
drums and trumpets, and pasteboard armor 
and wooden swords, and dolls and kites and 



158 IN OSAKA 

masks and monkeys, and models of boats, and 
baby tea-sets and baby-furniture, and whirli- 
gigs and comical images of the Gods of Good 
Fortune, — toys modern and toys of fashion 
forgotten, — toys accumulated through cen- 
turies, — toys of whole generations of dead 
children. From the ceiling, and close to the 
entrance, hung down a great heavy bell-rope, 
nearly four inches in diameter and of many 
colors, — the rope of the Indo-Kane. And 
that rope was made of the bibs of dead chil- 
dren, — yellow, blue, scarlet, purple bibs, and 
bibs of all intermediate shades. The ceiling 
itself was invisible, — hidden from view by 
hundreds of tiny dresses suspended, — dresses 
of dead children. Little boys and girls, kneel- 
ing or playing on the matting beside the priest, 
had brought toys with them, to be deposited 
in the chapel, before the tablet of some lost 
brother or sister. Every moment some be- 
reaved father or mother would come to the 
door, pull the bell-rope, throw some copper 
money on the matting, and make a prayer. 
Each time the bell sounds, some little ghost 
is believed to hear, — perhaps even to find 
its way back for one more look at loved toys 



IN OSAKA 159 

and faces. The plaintive murmur of Namu 
Amida Butsu ; the clanging of the bell ; the 
deep humming of the priest's voice, reciting 
the Sutras ; the tinkle of falling coin ; the 
sweet, heavy smell of incense ; the passionless 
golden beauty of the Buddha in his shrine ; 
the colorific radiance of the toys ; the shadow- 
ing of the baby-dresses ; the variegated won- 
der of that bell-rope of bibs; the happy 
laughter of the little folk at play on the 
floor, — all made for me an experience of 
weird pathos never to be forgotten. 

Not far from the bell-tower is another 
curious building, which shelters a sacred 
spring. In the middle of the floor is an 
opening, perhaps ten feet long by eight wide, 
surrounded by a railing. Looking down over 
the railing, you see, in the dimness below, a 
large stone basin, into which water is pour- 
ing from the mouth of a great stone tortoise, 
black with age, and only half visible, — its 
hinder part reaching back into the darkness 
under the floor. This water is called the 
Spring of the Tortoise, — Kame-i-Sui. The 
basin into which it flows is more than half 



160 IN OSAKA 

full of white paper, — countless slips of white 
paper, each bearing in Chinese text the 
kaimyo, or Buddhist posthumous name of a 
dead person. In a matted recess of the build- 
ing sits a priest who for a small fee writes the 
kaimyo. The purchaser — relative or friend 
of the dead — puts one end of the written slip 
into the mouth of a bamboo cup, or rather 
bamboo joint, fixed at right angles to the end 
of a long pole. By aid of this pole he lowers 
the paper, with the written side up, to the 
mouth of the tortoise, and holds it under the 
gush of water, — repeating a Buddhist invo- 
cation the while, — till it is washed out into 
the basin. When I visited the spring there 
was a dense crowd ; and several kaimyo were 
being held under the mouth of the tortoise ; — 
numbers of pious folk meantime waiting, with 
papers in their hands, for a chance to use 
the poles. The murmuring of Namu Amida 
Butsu was itself like the sound of rushing 
water. I was told that the basin becomes 
filled with kaimyo every few days ; — then it 
is emptied, and the papers burned. If this be 
true, it is a remarkable proof of the force of 
Buddhist faith in this busy commercial city ; 



IN OSAKA 161 

for many thousands of such slips of paper 
would be needed to fill the basin. It is said 
that the water bears the names of the dead 
and the prayers of the living to Shotoku Tai- 
shi, who uses his powers of intercession with 
Amida on behalf of the faithful. 

In the chapel called the Taishi-Do there 
«ire statues of Shotoku Taishi and his attend- 
ants. The figure of the prince, seated upon a 
chair of honor, is life-size and colored ; he is 
attired in the fashion of twelve hundred years 
ago, wearing a picturesque cap, and Chinese 
or Korean shoes with points turned up. One 
may see the same costume in the designs 
upon very old porcelains or very old screens. 
But the face, in spite of its drooping Chinese 
moustaches, is a typical Japanese face, — 
dignified, kindly, passionless. I turned from 
the faces of the statues to the faces of the 
people about me to see the same types, — to 
meet the same quiet, half -curious, inscrutable 
gaze. 

In powerful contrast to the ancient struc*. 
tures of Tennoji are the vast Nishi and Higashi 
Hongwanji, almo&t exact counterparts of the 



162 IN OSAKA 

Nishi and Higashi Hongwanji of Tokyo. 
Nearly every great city of Japan has a pair 
of such Hongwanji (Temples of the True 
Vow) — one belonging to the Western (Nishi), 
the other to the Eastern (Higashi) branch of 
this great Shin sect, founded in the thirteenth 
century.^ Varying in dimension according to 
the wealth and religious importance of the 
locality, but usually built upon the same gen- 
eral plan, they may be said to represent the 
most modern and the most purely Jai)anese 
form of Buddhist architecture, — immense, 
dignified, magnificent. 

But they likewise represent the almost prot- 
estant severity of the rite in regard to sym- 
bols, icons, and external forms. Their plain 
and ponderous gates are never guarded by the 
giant Ni-0 ; — there is no swarming of drag- 
ons and demons under their enormous eaves ; 

^ The division of the sect during the seventeenth century 
into two hranches had a political, not a relig-ious cause ; and 
the sections remain religiously united. Their abbots are 
of Imperial descent, whence their title of Monzeki, or 
Imperial Offspring. Travelers may observe that the walls 
inclosing the temple grounds of this sect bear the same 
decorative mouldings as those of the walls of the Imperial 
residences. 



IN OSAKA 163 

— no golden hosts of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas 
rise, rank on rank, by tiers of aureoles, 
throiigli the twilight of their sanctuaries ; — 
no curious or touching witnesses of grate- 
ful faith are ever suspended from their high 
ceilings, or hung before their altars, or fas- 
tened to the gratings of their doorways ; — 
they contain no ex-votos, no paper knots re- 
cording prayer, no symbolic image but one, — 
and that usually small, — the figure of Amida. 
Probably the reader knows that the Hong- 
wanji sect represents a movement in Buddhism 
not altogether unlike that which Unitarianism 
represents in Liberal Christianity. In its 
rejection of celibacy and of all ascetic prac- 
tices ; its prohibition of charms, divinations, 
votive offerings, and even of all prayer except- 
ing prayer for salvation ; its insistence upon 
industrious effort as the duty of life ; its main- 
tenance of the sanctity of marriage as a re- 
ligious bond ; its doctrine of one eternal 
Buddha as Father and Saviour; its promise 
of Paradise after death as the immediate re- 
ward of a good life ; and, above all, in its 
educational zeal, — the religion of the " Sect 
of the Pure Land " may be justly said to have 



164 IN OSAKA 

much in common with the progressive forms 
of Western Christianity, and it has certainly- 
won the respect of the few men of culture who 
find their way into the missionary legion. 
Judged by its wealth, its respectability, and 
its antagonism to the grosser forms of Bud- 
dhist superstition, it might be supposed the 
least emotional of all forms of Buddhism. 
But in some respects it is probably the most 
emotional. No other Buddhist sect can make 
such appeals to the faith and love of the com- 
mon people as those which brought into being 
the amazing Eastern Hong wan ji temple of 
Kyoto. Yet while able to reach the simplest 
minds by special methods of doctrinal teach- 
ing, the Hongwanji cult can make equally 
strong appeal to the intellectual classes by 
reason of its scholarship. Not a few of its 
priests are graduates of the leading universi- 
ties of the West ; and some have won Euro- 
pean reputations in various departments of 
Buddhist learning. Whether the older Bud- 
dhist sects are likely to dwindle away before 
the constantly increasing power of the Shin- 
shii is at least an interesting question. Cer- 
tainly the latter has everything in its favor, 



IN OSAKA 165 

— imperial recognition, wealth, culture, and 
solidity of organization. On the other hand, 
one is tempted to doubt the efficacy of such 
advantages in a warfare against habits of 
thought and feeling older by many centuries 
than Shinshii. Perhaps the Occident fur- 
nishes a precedent on which to base predic- 
tions. Remembering how strong Roman 
Catholicism remains to-day, how little it has 
changed since the days of Luther, how im- 
potent our progressive creeds to satisfy the 
old spiritual hunger for some visible object of 
worship, — something to touch, or put close 
to the heart, — it becomes difficult to believe 
that the iconolatry of the more ancient Bud- 
dhist sects will not continue for hundreds of 
years to keep a large place in popular affec- 
tion. Again, it is worthy of remark that one 
curious obstacle to the expansion of the Shin- 
shii is to be found in a very deeply rooted 
race feeling on the subject of self-sacrifice. 
Although much corruption undoubtedly exists 
in the older sects, — although numbers of 
their priests do not even pretend to observe 
the vows regarding diet and celibacy,^ — the 

1 This has been especially the case since the abrogation 



166 IN OSAKA 

ancient ideals are by no means dead ; and the 
majority of Japanese Buddhists still disap- 
prove of the relatively pleasurable lives of the 
Shinshii priesthood. In some of the remoter 
provinces, where Shinshu is vievred with es- 
pecial disfavor, one may often hear children 
singing a naughty song (^Shinshu hozu e mon 
da /), which might thus be freely rendered : — . 

Shinshu priest to be, — 
What a nice thing ! 
Wife has, child has, 
Good fish eats. 

It reminded me of those popular criticisms 
■of Buddhist conduct uttered in the time of 
the Buddha himself, and so often recorded in 
the Vinaya texts, — almost like a refrain : — 
" Then the people were annoyed ; and they 
murmured and complained^ saying : ' These 
act like men who are still enjoying the pleas- 
ures of this world ! ' And they told the 
thing to the Blessed One,'''' 

Besides Tennoji, Osaka has many famous 
temples, both Buddhist and Shinto, with very 

of the civil laws forbidding priests to marry. The wives 
of the priests of other sects than the Shinshii are called by 
a humorous and not very respectful appellation. 



IN OSAKA 167 

ancient histories. Of such is Kozu-no-yashiro, 
where the people pray to the spirit of Nintoku, 
— most beloved in memory of all Japanese 
emperors. He had a palace on the same 
hill where his shrine now stands ; and this 
site — whence a fine view of the city can be 
obtained — is the scene of a pleasing legend 
preserved in the Kojiki: — 

..." Thereupon the Heavenly Sovereign, as- 
cending a lofty mountain and looking on the land 
all round, spoke, saying : — 'In the whole land 
there rises no smoke ; the land is all poverty- 
stricken. So I remit all the people's taxes and 
forced labor from now till three years hence.' 
Thereupon the great palace became dilapidated, 
and the rain leaked in everywhere ; but no repairs 
were made. The rain that leaked in was caught in 
troughs, and the inmates removed to places where 
there was no leakage. When later the Heavenly 
Sovereign looked upon the land, the smoke was 
abundant in the land. So, finding the people rich, 
he now exacted taxes and forced labor. Therefore 
the peasantry prospered, and did not suffer from 
the forced labor. So, in praise of that aug-ust reign, 
it was called the Reign of the Emperor-Sage." ^ 

^ See Professor Chamberlain's translation of the Kojiki, 
section CXXI. 



168 IN OSAKA 

That was fifteen hundred years ago. Now, 
could the good Emperor see, from his shrine 
of Kozu, — as thousands must believe he 
does, — the smoke of modern Osaka, he 
might well think, " My people are becoming 
too rich." 

Outside of the city there is a still more 
famous Shinto temple, Sumiyoshi, dedicated 
to certain sea-gods who aided the Empress 
Jingo to conquer Korea. At Sumiyoshi there 
are pretty child-priestesses, and beautiful 
grounds, and an enormous pond spanned by 
a bridge so humped that, to cross it without 
taking off your shoes, you must cling to the 
parapet. At Sakai there is the Buddhist tem- 
ple of Myokokuji, in the garden of which are 
some very old palm-trees ; — one of them, re- 
moved by Nobunaga in the sixteenth century, 
is said to have cried out and lamented until it 
was taken back to the temple. You see the 
ground under these palms covered with what 
looks like a thick, shiny, disordered mass of 
fur, — half reddish and half silvery grey. It 
is not fur. It is a heaping of millions of nee- 
dles thrown there by pilgrims " to feed the 
palms," because these trees are said to love 



IN OSAKA 169 

iron and to be strengthened by absorbing its 
rust. 

Speaking of trees, I may mention tbe Nani- 
waya " Kasa-matsu," or Hat-Pine, — not so 
much because it is an extraordinary tree as 
because it supports a large family who keep 
a little tea-house on the road to Sakai. The 
branches of the tree have been trained out- 
wards and downwards over a framework of 
poles, so that the whole presents the appear- 
ance of an enormous green hat of the shape 
worn by peasants and called Kasa. The pine 
is scarcely six feet high, but covers perhaps 
twenty square yards ; — its trunk, of course, 
not being visible at all from outside the frame- 
work supporting the branches. Many people 
visit the house to look at the pine and drink 
a cup of tea ; and nearly every visitor buys 
some memento of it, — perhaps a woodcut of 
the tree, or a printed copy of verses written 
by some poet in praise of it, or a girl's hair- 
pin, the top of which is a perfect little green 
model ox the tree, -— iramevv Gtii Ci poles and 
all, — with one tiny stork perched on it. The 
owners of the Naniwaya, as their tea-house 
is called, are not only able to make a good 



170 IN OSAKA 

living, but to educate their children, by the 
exhibition of this tree, and the sale of such 
mementos. 

I do not intend to tax my reader's patience 
by descriptions of the other famous temples of 
Osaka, — several of which are enormously old, 
and have most curious legends attached to 
them. But I may venture a few words about 
the cemetery of the Temple of One Soul, — or 
better, perhaps, the Temple of a Single Mind : 
Isshinji. The monuments there are -the most 
extraordinary I ever saw. Near the main gate 
is the tomb of a wrestler, — Asahigoro Ha- 
chiro. His name is chiseled upon a big disk 
of stone, probably weighing a ton ; and this 
disk is supported on the back of a stone im- 
age of a wrestler, — a grotesque figure, with 
gilded eyes starting from their sockets, and 
features apparently distorted by effort. It 
is a very queer thing, — half -comical, half- 
furious of aspect. Close by is the tomb of 
one Hirayama Hambei, — a monument shaped 
like a hydtan, — that is to say, like a wine- 
gourd such as travelers use for carrying sake. 
The most usual form of hydtan resembles that 



IN OSAKA 171 

of an hour-glass, except that the lower part 
is somewhat larger than the upper ; and the 
vessel can only stand upright when full or 
partly full, — so that in a Japanese song the 
wine-lover is made to say to his gourd, " With 
you Ifaliy Apparently the mighty to drink 
wine have a district all to themselves in this 
cemetery; for there are several other monu- 
ments of like form in the same row, — also one 
shaped like a very large sake-bottle (isshodok- 
huri)} on which is inscribed a verse not taken 
from the sutras. But the oddest monument of 
all is a great stone badger, sitting upright, 
and seeming to strike its belly with its fore- 
paws. On the belly is cut a name, Inouye 
Dennosuke, together with the verse : — 

Tsuki yo yoshi 
Nembutsu tonaite 
Hara tsudzumi. 

Which means about as follows : — " On fine 
moonlight-nights, repeating the Nembutsu, I 
play the belly-drum." The flower-vases are in 
the form of sake-bottles. Artificial rock-work 
supports the monument ; and here and there, 

^ That is, a bottle containing' one sho, — about a quart 
and a half. 



172 IN OSAKA 

among the rocks, are smaller figures of badg- 
ers, dressed like Buddhist priests (tanuki- 
bozu). My readers probably know that the 
Japanese tanuki ^ is credited with the power 
of assuming human shape, and of making 
musical sounds like the booming of a hand- 
drum by tapping upon its belly. It is said 
often to disguise itself as a Buddhist priest 
for mischievous purposes, and to be very 
fond of sake. Of course, such images in a 
cemetery represent nothing more than eccen- 
tricities, and are judged to be in bad taste. 
One is reminded of certain jocose paintings 
and inscriptions upon Greek and Roman 
tombs, expressing in regard to death — or 
rather in regard to life — a sentiment, or an 
affectation of sentiment, repellent to modern 
feeling. 

V 

I said in a former essay that a Japa- 
nese city is little more than a wilderness of 
wooden sheds, and Osaka is no exception. 

1 Although tanuki is commonly translated by "badger," 
the creature so called is not a real badger, but a kind of 
fruit-fox. It is also termed the " raccoon-faced dog." The 
true badger is, however, also found in Japan. 



IN OSAKA 173 

But interiorly a very large number of the 
frail wooden dwellings of any Japanese city 
are works of art ; and perhaps no city pos- 
sesses more charming homes than Osaka. 
Kyoto is, indeed, much richer in gardens, — 
there being comparatively little space for gar- 
dens in Osaka; but I am speaking of the 
houses only. Exteriorly a Japanese street 
may appear little better than a row of wooden 
barns or stables, but the interior of any 
dwelling in it may be a wonder of beauty. 
Usually the outside of a eTapanese house is not 
at all beautiful, though it may have a cer- 
tain pleasing oddity of form ; and in many 
cases the walls of the rear or sides are covered 
with charred boards, of which the blackened 
and hardened surfaces are said to resist heat 
and damp better than any coating of paint or 
stucco could do. Except, perhaps, the outside 
of a coal-shed, nothing dingier-looking could 
be imagined. But the other side of the black 
walls may be an aesthetic delight. The com- 
parative cheapness of the residence does not 
much affect this possibility; — for the Japa- 
nese excel all nations in obtaining the maxi- 
mum of beauty with the minimum of cost; 



174 IN OSAKA 

while the most industrially advanced of West- 
ern peoples — the practical Americans — have 
yet only succeeded in obtaining the mini- 
mum of beauty with the maximum of cost ! 
Much about Japanese interiors can be learned 
from Morse's " Japanese Homes ; " but even 
that admirable book gives only the black-and- 
white notion of the subject ; and more than 
half of the charm of such interiors is the al- 
most inexplicable caress of color. To illus- 
trate Mr. Morse's work so as to interpret the 
colorific charm would be a dearer and a more 
difficult feat than the production of Racine t's 
" Costumes Historique." Even thus the sub- 
dued luminosity, the tone of perfect repose, the 
revelations of delicacy and daintiness waiting 
the eye in every nook of chambers seemingly 
contrived to catch and keep the feeling of per- 
petual summer, would remain unguessed. Five 
years ago I wrote that a little acquaintance 
with the Japanese art of flower arrangement 
had made it impossible for me to endure the 
sight of that vulgarity, or rather brutality, 
which in the West we call a "bouquet." 
To-day I must add that familiarity with Japa- 
nese interiors has equally disgusted me with 



IN OSAKA 175 

Occidental interiors, no matter how spacious 
or comfortable or richly furnished. Return- 
ing now to Western life, I should feel like 
Thomas-the-Rhymer revisiting a world of ugli- 
ness and sorrow after seven years of fairyland. 
It is possible, as has been alleged (though 
I cannot believe it), that Western artists 
have little more to learn from the study of 
Japanese pictorial art. But I am quite sure 
that our house-builders have universes of facts 
to learn — especially as regards the treatment 
and tinting of surfaces — from the study of 
Japanese interiors. Whether the countless 
styles of these interiors can even be classed 
appears to me a doubtful question. I do not 
think that in a hundred thousand Japanese 
houses there are two interiors precisely alike 

— (excluding, of course, the homes of the 
poorest classes), — for the designer never re- 
peats himself when he can help it. The lesson 
he has to teach is the lesson of perfect taste 
combined with inexhaustible variety. Taste ! 

— what a rare thing it is in our Western 
world ! — and how independent of material, — 
how intuitive, — how incommunicable to the 
vulgar! But taste is a Japanese birthright. 



176 IN OSAKA 

It is everywhere present, — though varying in 
quality o£ development according to conditions 
and the inheritance depending upon condi- 
tions. The average Occidental recognizes only 
the commoner forms of it, — chiefly those made 
familiar by commercial export. And, as a 
general rule, what the West most admires in 
Japanese conventional taste is thought rather 
vulgar in Japan. Not that we are wrong in ad- 
miring whatever is beautiful in itself. Even the 
designs printed in tints upon a two-cent towel 
may be really great pictures : they are some- 
times made by excellent artists. But the aris- 
tocratic severity of the best Japanese taste — 
the exquisite complexity of its refinements in 
the determination of proportion, quality, tone, 
restraint — has never yet been dreamed of by 
the West. Nowhere is this taste so finely 
exhibited as in private interiors, — particu- 
larly in regard to color. The rules of color 
in the composition of a set of rooms are not 
less exacting than the rules of color in the mat- 
ter of dress, — though permitting considerable 
variety. The mere tones of a private house 
are enough to indicate its owner's degree of 
culture. There is no painting, no varnishing, 



IN OSAKA 177 

no wall-papering, — only staining and polishing 
of particular parts, and a sort of paper border 
about fifteen inches broad fixed along the 
bottom of a wall to protect it during clean- 
ing and dusting operations. The plastering 
may be made with sands of different hues, or 
with fragments of shell and nacre, or with 
quartz-crystal, or with mica ; the surface may 
imitate granite, or may sparkle like copper 
pyrites, or may look exactly like a rich mass 
of bark ; but, whatever the material, the tint 
given must show the same faultless taste that 
rules in the tints of silks for robes and girdles. 
. . . As yet, all this interior world of beauty 
— just because it is an interior world — is 
closed to the foreign tourist : he can find at 
most only suggestions of it in the rooms of 
such old-fashioned inns or tea-houses as he 
may visit in the course of his travels. 

I wonder how many foreign travelers un- 
derstand the charm of a Japanese inn, or even 
think how much is done to please them, not 
merely in the matter of personal attentions, 
but in making beauty for their eyes. Multi- 
tudes write of their petty vexations, — their 



178 IN OSAKA 

personal acquaintance with fleas, their per- 
sonal dislikes and discomforts ; but how many 
write of the charm of that alcove where every 
day fresh flowers are placed, — arranged 
as no European florist could ever learn to 
arrange flowers, — and where there is sure to 
be some object of real art, whether in bronze, 
lacquer, or porcelain, together with a picture 
suited to the feeling of the time and season ? 
These little aesthetic gratifications, though 
never charged for, ought to be kindly remem- 
bered when the gift of " tea-money " is made. 
I have been in hundreds of Japanese hotels, 
and I remember only one in which I could 
find nothing curious or pretty, — a ramshackle 
shelter hastily put up to catch custom at a 
newly-opened railway station. 

A word about the alcove of my room in 
Osaka : — The wall was covered only with a 
mixture of sand and metallic filings of some 
sort, but it looked like a beautiful surface 
of silver ore. To the pillar was fastened a 
bamboo cup containing a pair of exquisite 
blossoming sprays of wistaria, — one pink and 
the other white. The kakemono — made 
with a few very bold strokes by a master- 



IN OSAKA 179 

brush — pictured two enormous crabs about 
to fight after vainly trying to get out of each 
other's way ; — and the humor of the thing 
was enhanced by a few Chinese characters 
signifying, Woko-seJcai^ or, " Everything goes 
crookedly in this world." 

VII 

My last day in Osaka was given to shop- 
ping, — chiefly in the districts of the toy-mak- 
ers and of the silk merchants. A Japanese 
acquaintance, himself a shopkeeper, took me 
about, and showed me extraordinary things 
until my eyes ached. We went to a famous 
silk-house, — a tumultuous place, so crowded 
that we had some trouble to squeeze our way 
to the floor-platform, which, in every Japanese 
shop, serves at once for chairs and counter. 
Scores of barefooted light-limbed boys were 
running over it, bearing bundles of merchan- 
dise to customers ; — for in such shops there 
is no shelving of stock. The Japanese sales- 
man never leaves his squatting-place on the 
mats ; but, on learning what you want, he 
shouts an order, and boys presently run to 
you with armf uls of samples. After you have 



X^O ^^ OSAKA 

made your choice, the goods are rolled up 
again by the boys, and carried back into the 
fire-proof storehouses behind the shop. At 
the time of our visit, the greater part of the 
matted floor-space was one splendid shimmer- 
ing confusion of tossed silks and velvets of a 
hundred colors and a hundred prices. Near 
the main entrance an elderly superintendent, 
plump and jovial of aspect like the God 
of Wealth, looked after arriving customers. 
Two keen-eyed men, standing upon an eleva- 
tion in the middle of the shop, and slowly 
turning round and round in opposite direc- 
tions, kept watch for thieves ; and other 
watchers were posted at the side - doors. 
(Japanese shop-thieves, by the way, are very 
clever ; and I am told that nearly every large 
store loses considerably by them in the course 
of the year.) In a side-wing of the building, 
under a low skylight, I saw busy ranks 
of bookkeepers, cashiers, and correspondents 
squatting before little desks less than two feet 
hiofh. Each of the numerous salesmen was 
attending to many customers at once. The 
rush of business was big; and the rapidity 
with which the work was being done testified 



IN OSAKA 181 

to the excellence of the organization estab- 
lished. I asked how many persons the firm 
employed, and my friend replied : — 

" Probably about two hundred here ; there 
are several branch houses. In this shop the 
work is very hard ; but the working-hours are 
shorter than in most of the silk-houses, — not 
more than twelve hours a day." 

" What about salaries ? " I inquired. 

" No salaries." 

" Is all the work of this firm done without 
pay?" 

" Perhaps one or two of the very cleverest 
salesmen may get something, — not exactly a 
salary, but a little special remuneration every 
month ; and the old superintendent — (he has 
been forty years in the house) — gets a salary. 
The rest get nothing but their food.'* 

"Good food?" 

" No, very cheap, coarse food. After a man 
has served his time here, — fourteen or fifteen 
years, — he may be helped to open a small 
store of his own." 

"Are the conditions the same in all the 
shops of Osaka?" 

" Yes, — everywhere the same. But now 



182 IN OSAKA 

many of the detchi are graduates of commer- 
cial schools. Those sent to a commercial 
school begin their apprenticeship much later ; 
and they are said not to make such good 
detchi as those taught from childhood." 

"A Japanese clerk in a foreign store is 
much better off." 

" We do not think so," answered my friend 
very positively. " Some who speak English 
well, and have learned the foreign way of 
doing business, may get fifty or sixty dollars 
a month for seven or eight hours' work a day. 
But they are not treated the same way as 
they are treated in a Japanese house. Clever 
men do not like to work under foreigners. 
Foreigners used to be very cruel to their 
Japanese clerks and servants." 

" But not now? " I queried. 

" Perhaps not often. They have found that 
it is dangerous. But they used to beat and 
kick them. Japanese think it shameful to 
even speak unkindly to detchi or servants. 
In a house like this there is no unkindness. 
The owners and the superintendents never 
speak roughly. You see how very hard all 
these men and boys are working without pay. 



IN OSAKA 183 

No foreigner could get Japanese to work like 
that, even for big wages. I have worked in 
foreign houses, and I know." 

It is not exaggeration to say that most of 
the intelligent service rendered in Japanese 
trade and skilled industry is unsalaried. Per- 
haps one third of the business work of the 
country is done without wages ; the relation 
between master and servant being one of per- 
fect trust on both sides, and absolute obedi- 
ence being assured by the simplest of moral 
conditions. This fact was the fact most 
deeply impressed upon me during my stay in 
Osaka. 

I found myself wondering about it while 
the evening train to Nara was bearing me 
away from the cheery turmoil of the great 
metropolis. I continued to think of it while 
watching the deepening of the dusk over 
the leagues of roofs, — over the mustering of 
factory chimneys forever sending up their 
offering of smoke to the shrine of good Nin- 
toku. Suddenly above the out-twinkling of 
countless lamps, — above the white star-points 
of electric lights, — above the growing dusk 



184 IN OSAKA 

itself, — I saw, rising glorified into the last red 
splendor of sunset, the marvelous old pagoda 
of Tennoji. And I asked myself whether 
the faith it symbolized had not helped to 
create that spirit of patience and love and 
trust upon which have been founded all the 
wealth and energy and power of the migh- 
tiest city of Japan. 



\ 



VIII 

BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS IN JAPANESE FOLK- 
SONG 

Perhaps odIj a Japanese representative 
of the older culture could fully inform us to 
what degree the mental soil of the race has 
been saturated and fertilized by Buddhist 
idealism. At all events, no European could 
do so ; for to understand the whole relation of 
Far-Eastern religion to Far-Eastern life would 
require, not only such scholarship, but also 
such experience as no European could gain in 
a lifetime. Yet for even the Western stranger 
there are everywhere signs of what Buddhism 
has been to Japan in the past. All the arts 
and most of the industries repeat Buddhist 
legends to the eye trained in symbolism ; 
and there is scarcely an object of handiwork 
possessing any beauty or significance of form 
— from the plaything of a child to the heir- 
loom of a prince — which does not in some 



186 BUDDHIST ALL USIONS 

way proclaim the ancient debt to Buddhism 
of the craft that made it. One may discern 
Buddhist thoughts in the cheap cotton prints 
from an Osaka mill not less than in the fig- 
tired silks of Kyoto. The reliefs upon an 
iron kettle, or the elephant-heads of bronze 
making the handles of a shopkeeper's hiba- 
chl ; — the patterns of screen-paper, or the 
commonest ornamental woodwork of a gate- 
way ; — the etchings upon a metal pipe, or 
the enameling upon a costly vase, — may all 
relate, with equal eloquence, the traditions 
of faith. There are reflections or echoes of 
Buddhist teaching in the composition of a 
garden ; — in the countless ideographs of the 
long vistas of shop-signs ; — in the wonder- 
fully expressive names given to certain fruits 
and flowers ; — in the appellations of moun- 
tains, capes, waterfalls, villages, — even of 
modern railway stations. And the new civil- 
ization would not yet seem to have much af- 
fected the influence thus manifested. Trains 
and steamers now yearly carry to famous 
shrines more pilgrims than visited them ever 
before in a twelvemonth ; — the temple bells 
still, in despite of clocks and watches, mark 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 187 

the passing of time for the millions ; — the 
speech of the people is still poetized with 
Buddhist utterances ; — literature and drama 
still teem with Buddhist expressions ; — and 
the most ordinary voices of the street — 
songs of children playing, a chorus of laborers 
at their toil, even cries of itinerant street-ven- 
ders — often recall to me some story of saints 
and Bodhisattvas, or the text of some sutra. 

Such an experience first gave me the idea 
of making a collection of songs containing 
Buddhist expressions or allusions. But in 
view of the extent of the subject I could not 
at once decide where to begin. A bewilder- 
ing variety of Japanese songs — a variety of 
which the mere nomenclature would occupy 
pages — offers material of this description. 
Among noteworthy kinds may be mentioned 
the Utai^ dramatic songs, mostly composed by 
high priests, of which probably no ten lines 
are without some allusion to Buddhism; — 
the Naga-uta^ songs often of extraordinary 
length ; — and the Joruri^ whole romances in 
verse, with which professional singers can 
deligrht their audiences for five or six hours at 
a time. The mere dimension of such compo- 



188 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

sitions necessarily excluded them from my 
plan ; but there remained a legion of briefer 
forms to choose among. I resolved at last to 
limit my undertaking mainly to dodoitsu, — 
little songs of twenty-six syllables only, ar- 
ranged in four lines (7, 7, 7, 5). They are 
more regular in construction than the street- 
songs treated of in a former paper ; but they 
are essentially popular, and therefore more 
widely representative of Buddhist influences 
than many superior kinds of composition 
could be. Out of a very large number col- 
lected for me, I have selected between forty 
and fifty as typical of the class. 

Perhaps those pieces which reflect the ideas 
of preexistence and of future rebirths will 
prove especially interesting to the Western 
reader, — much less because of poetical worth 
than because of comparative novelty. We 
have very little English verse of any class con- 
taining fancies of this kind ; but they swarm 
in Japanese poetry even as commonplaces and 
conventionalisms. Such an exquisite thing as 
Kossetti's " Sudden Light," — bewitching us 
chiefly through the penetrative subtlety of a 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 189 

thought anathematized by all our orthodoxies 
for eighteen hundred years, — could interest 
a Japanese only as the exceptional rendering, 
by an Occidental, of fancies and feelings fa^ 
miliar to the most ignorant peasant. Cer- 
tainly no one will be able to find in these 
Japanese verses — or, rather, in my own 
wretchedly prosy translations of them — even 
a hint of anything like the ghostly delicacy of 
Rossetti's imagining : — 

I have been here before, — 

But when or how I cannot tell : 

I know the grass beyond the door, 
The sweet, keen smell, 
The sighing sound, the lights along the shore. 

You have been mine before, — 

How long ago I may not know : 

But just when at that swallow's soar 
Your neck turned so, 
Some veil did fall, — I knew it all of yore. 

Yet what a queer living difference be- 
tween such enigmatically delicate handling 
of thoughts classed as forbidden fruit in the 
Western Eden of Dreams and the every-day 
Japanese utterances that spring directly out 
of ancient Eastern faith ! — 



190 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Love, it is often said, has nothing to do with reason. 
The cause of ours must be some En in a previous birth.^ 

Even the knot of the rope tying our boats together 
Knotted was long ago by some love in a former birth. 

If the touching even of sleeves be through En of a former ex* 

istence, 
Very much deeper must be the En that unites us now ! ^ 

Kwaho ^ this life must be, — this dwelling with one so tender ; — 
I am reaping now the reward of deeds in a former birth ! 

^ Iro wa sMan no 
Hoka to-wa i^do, 
Kord mo saki-sho no 
En de aro. 
"En " is a Buddhist word signifying affinity, — relation 
of cause and effect from life to life. 

^ Sod^ suri-o no mo 
Tasho no en yo, 
Mashit^ f utari ga 
Fukai naka. 
Allusion is here made to the old Buddhist proverb : Sod& 
no furi-awasi mo tasho no en, — "Even the touching of 
sleeves in passing is caused by some affinity operating from 
former lives." 

3 The Buddhist word " Kwaho " is commonly used in- 
stead of other synonyms for Karma (such as ingwa, innen, 
etc.), to signify the good, rather than the bad results of 
action in previous lives. But it is sometimes used in both 
meanings. Here there seems to be an allusion to the pro- 
verbial expression, Kwaho no yoi hito (lit. : a person of good 
Kwaho), meaning a fortunate individual. 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 191 

Many songs of this class refer to the cus- 
tomary vow which lovers make to belong to 
each other for more lives than one, — a vow 
perhaps originally inspired by the Buddhist 
aphorism, — 

Oya-ko wa, is-si; 
Fufu wa, ni-se; 
Shuju wa, san-z4. 

" The relation of parent and child is for one 
life ; that of wife and husband, for two lives ; 
that of master and servant, for three lives.'* 
Although the tender relation is thus limited 
to the time of two lives, the vow — (as Japa- 
nese dramas testify, and as the letters of those 
who kill themselves for love bear witness) — 
is often passionately made for seven. The 
following selections show a considerable va- 
riety of tone, — ranging from the pathetic to 
the satirical, — in the treatment of this topic : 

I have cut my hair for his sake ; hut the deeper relation be- 
tween us 
Cannot he cut in this, nor yet in another life. ^ 

1 Kami wa kittd mo 
Ni-s^ mad^ kaketa 
Fukai enishi wa 

Kiru mono ka ? 
Literally : * ' Hair have-cut although, two existences untilf 



192 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

She looks at the portrait of him to whom for two lives she is 

promised : 
Happy remembrances come, and each brings a smile to her 

face?- 

If in this present life we never can hope for union, 

Then we shall first keep house in the Lotos-Palace beyond.^ 

Have we not spoken the vow that binds for a double existence ? 
If we must separate now, I can only wish to die. 

deep relation, cut-how-ean-it-be ? " By the mention of the 
hair-cutting we know the speaker is a woman. Her hus- 
band, or possibly betrothed lover, is dead ; and, according 
to the Buddhist custom, she signifies her desire to remain 
faithful to his memory by the sacrifice of her hair. For 
detailed information on this subject see, in my Glimpses of 
Unfamiliar Japan, the chapter, " Of Women's Hair." 

1 Ni-s^ to chigirishi 
Shashin wo nagam^ 
Omoi-idashit^ 

Warai-gao. 
Lit. : " Two existences that made alliance, photograph 
look-at, thinking bring-out smiling face." The use of the 
term shashin, photograph, shows that the poem is not old. 

2 Tot^mo kono yo d^ 
Soward-nu naraba 
Hasu no ut^na d^ 

Ara s^tai. 
Lit. : " By-any-means, this-world-in, cannot-Hve-together 
if, Lotos-of Palace-in, new-housekeeping." It is with this 
thought that lovers voluntarily die together j and the song 
might be called a song of joshi. 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 193 

There ! — oh, what shall we do? . . . Pledged for a double 

existence, — 
And now, as we sit together, the string of the samisen snaps I ^ 

He woos by teaching the Law of Cause and Effect for three 

lives, 
And makes a contract for two — the crafty-smiling priest I ^ 

Every mortal has lived and is destined to 
live countless lives ; yet the happy moments 
of any single existence are not therefore less 
precious in themselves : — 

Not to have met one night is verily cause for sorrow ; 
Since twice in a single birth the same night never comes. 

But even as a summer unusually warm is apt 
to herald a winter of exceptional severity, so 
too much happiness in this life may signify 
great suffering in the next : — 

Always I suffer thus ! . . . Methinks, in my last existence^ 
Too happy I must have been, — did not suffer enough. 

Next in point of exotic interest to the songs 
expressing belief in preexistence and rebirth, 
I think I should place those treating of the 

^ Among singing-girls it is believed that the snapping of 
a samisen-string under such circumstances as those indicated 
in the above song is an omen of coming separation. 

^ This song is of a priest who breaks the vow of celibacy. 



194 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

doctrine of ingwa, or Karma. I offer some 
free translations from these, together with one 
selection from a class of compositions more 
elaborate and usually much longer than the 
dodoitsu, called hauta. In the original, at 
least, my selection from the hauta — which 
contains a charming simile about the firefly 
— is by far the prettiest : — 

Weep not ! — turn to me ! . . . Nay, all my suspicions vanish ! 
Forgive me those words unkind : some ingwa controlled my 
tongue ! 

Evidently this is the remorseful pleading of a 
jealous lover. The next might be the answer 
of the girl whose tears he had caused to flow : 

I cannot imagine at all by what strange manner of ingwa 
Came I to Jail in love with one so unkind as you ! 

Or she might exclaim : — 

Is this the turning of En ? — am I caught in the Wheel of 

Karma ? 
That, alas ! is a wheel not to be moved from the rut ! ^ 

1 Meguru en kaya ? 
Kuruma no watashi 
Hiku ni hikar^nu 
Kono ingwa. 
There is a play on words in the original which I have not 
attempted to render. The idea is of an unhappy match — 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 195 

A more remarkable reference to the Wheel 
of Karma is the following : — 

Father and mother forbade, and so I gave up my lover ; — 
Yet still, with the whirl of the Wheel, the thought of him comes 
and goes?- 

This is a Jiauta : — 

Numberless insects there are that call from dawn to evening, 
Crying, "7 love ! I love ! " — but the Firefly'' s silent passion, 
Making its body burn, is deeper than all their longing. 
Even such is my love . . . yet I cannot think through what ingwa 
I opened my heart — alas ! — to a being not sincere ! 2 

either betrothal or marriage - — from which the woman 
wishes to withdraw when too late. 

1 Oya no iken d6 
Akirameta no wo 
Mata mo rin-y^ d6 

Omoi-dasu. 
The Buddhist word Bin-y4, or Rinten, has the meaning of 
"turning the Wheel," — another expression for passing 
from birth to birth. The Wheel here is the great Circle of 
Dlusion, — the whirl of Karma. 

2 Kaai, kaai to 
Naku mushi yori mo 
Nakanu hotaru ga 
Mi wo kogasu. 
Nanno ingwa d^ 
Jitsu naki hito ni 
Shin wo akashit^, — 

Aa kuyashi ! 
lit. : " ' I-love-I-love '-saying-cry-insects than, better 



196 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

If the foregoing seem productions possible 
only to our psychological antipodes, it is quite 
otherwise with a group of folk-songs reflecting 
the doctrine of Impermanency. Concerning 
the instability of all material things, and the 
hollo wness of all earthly pleasures, Christian 
and Buddhist thought are very much in ac- 
cord. The great difference between them ap- 
pears only when we compare their teaching 
as to things ghostly, — and especially as to 
the nature of the Ego. But the Oriental doc- 
trine that the Ego itself is an impermanent 
compound, and that the Self is not the true 
Consciousness, rarely finds expression in these 
popular songs. For the common people the 
Self exists : it is a real (though multiple) 
personality that passes from birth to birth. 
Only the educated Buddhist comprehends the 
deeper teaching that what we imagine to be 
Self is wholly illusion, — a darkening veil 
woven by Karma ; and that there is no Self 
but the Infinite Self, the eternal Absolute. 

never-cry-firefly, body scorch ! What Karma because-of, 
sincerity-not-is-man to, inmost-mind opened ? — ah ! re- 
gret ! "... It was formerly believed that the firefly's 
light really burned its own body. 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 197 

In the following dodoitsu will be found 
mostly thoughts or emotions according with 
universal experience : — 

Gathering clouds to the moon ; — storm and rain to the flowers : 
Somehow this world of woe never is just as we like?- 

Almost as soon as they bloom, the scented flowers of the plum- 
tree 

By the wind of this world of change are scattered and blown 
away. 

Thinking to-morrow remains, thou hearV s frail flower-of -cherry 9 
How knowest whether this night the tempest will not come ? ^ 

^ Tsuki ni murakumo, 
Hana ni wa arashi : 
Tokaku uki-yo wa 
Mama naranu. 
This song especially refers to unhappy love, and contains 
the substance ot two Buddhist proverbs : Tsuki ni mura- 
kumo, hana ni kaz4 (cloud-masses to the moon ; wind to 
flowers) ; and Mama ni naranu wa uki-yo no narai (to be 
disappointed is the rule in this miserable world). " Uki-yo " 
(this fleeting or unhappy world) is one of the commonest 
Buddhist terms in use. 

2 Asu ari to 
Omo kokoro no 

Ada-zakura : 
Yo wa ni arashi no 
Fukanu monokawa ? 
Lit. : " To-morrow-is that think heart-of perishable-cherry 
flower : this-night-in-storm blow-not, is-it-certain ? " 



198 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Shadow and shape alike melt andjlow back to nothing : 
He who knows this truth is the Daruma of snowA 

As the moon of the fifteenth night, the heart till the age fifteen: 
Then the brightness wanes, and the darkness comes with love.^ 

All things change, we are told, in this world of change and 

sorrow ; 
But lovers way never changes of promising never to change.^ 

^ Kag^ mo katachi mo 
Kiyur^ba moto no 
Midzu to satoru zo 

Yuki-Daruma. 
Lit. : " Shadow and shape also, if -melt-away, original- 
water is, — that-understands Snow-Daruma." Daruma 
(Dharma), the twenty-eighth patriarch of the Zen sect, is 
said to have lost his legs through remaining long in the 
posture of meditation ; and many legless toy-figures, which 
are so balanced that they will always assume an upright 
position however often placed upside-down, are called by 
his name. The snow-men made by Japanese children have 
the same traditional form. — The Japanese friend who 
helped me to translate these verses, tells me that a ghostly 
meaning attaches to the word " Kag^ " [shadow] in the 
above ; — this would give a much more profound signifi- 
cation to the whole verse. 

'^ According to the old calendar, there was always a full 
moon on the fifteenth of the month. The Buddhist allusion 
in the verse is to mai/oi, the illusion of passion, which is 
compared to a darkness concealing the Right Way. 
3 Kawaru uki-yo ni 
Kawaranu mono wa 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 199 

Cruel the beautiful flash, — utterly heartless that lightning ! 
Before one can look even twice it vanishes wholly away ! ^ 

His very sweetness itself makes my existence a burden ! 
Truly this world of change is a world of constant woe ! ^ 

Neither for youth nor age is fixed the life of the body ; — 
Bidding me wait for a time is the word that forever divides.^ 

Kawarumai to no 

Koi no michi. 
Lit. : * ' Change ehangeable-world-in, does-not-change that- 
which, ' We-will-never-change '-saying- of Love-of Way." 
^ Honni tsur^nai 
Ano inadzuma wa 
Futa m^ minu uchi 
Kiy^td yuku. 
The Buddhist saying, Inadzuma no hikari, ishi no hi 
(lightning-flash and flint-spark), — symbolizing the tem- 
porary nature of all pleasures, — is here playfully referred 
to. The song complains of a too brief meeting with sweet- 
heart or lover. 

^ Words of a loving but jealous woman, thus Interpreted 
by my Japanese friend : ' ' The more kind he is, the more 
his kindness overwhelms me with anxiety lest he be equally 
tender to other girls who may also fall in love with him." 
^ Ro-sho fujo no 
Mi d^ ari nagara, 
Jisetsu mat^ to wa 
Kird-kotoba. 
Lit. : " Old-young not-fixed-of body being, time-wait to- 
say, cutting-word." " Ros-ho fujo" is a Buddhist phrase. 
The meaning of the song is: "Since all things in this 



200 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Only too well I know that to meet will cause more weeping ; ^ 
Yet never to meet at all were sorrow too great to hear. 

Too joyful in union to think, we forget that the S7niles of the 

evening 
Sometimes themselves become the sources of morning-tears. 

Yet, notwithstanding the doctrine of imper- 
manency, we are told in another dodoitsu 
that — 

He who was never bewitched by the charming smile of a woman^ 
A wooden Buddha is he — a Buddha of bronze or stone ! ^ 

And why a Buddha of wood, or bronze, or 
stone? Because the living Buddha was not 

world are uncertain, asking me to wait for our marriage- 
day m.eans that you do not really love me ; — for either of 
us might die before the time you speak of." 

^ Allusion is made to the Buddhist text, Shoja hitsu 
metsu, esha jo ri ("Whosoever is born must die, and all 
who meet must as surely part"), and to the religious 
phrase, Ai betsu ri ku (" Soitow of parting and pain of 
separation "). 

^ Much more amusing in the original : — 
Adana ^-gao ni 
Mayowanu mono wa 
Ki-Butsu, — kana-Butsu, — 
Ishi-botok^ ! 
" Charming-smile-by bewildered-not, he-as-f or, wood- 
Buddha, metal-Buddha, stone-Buddha ! " The term " Ishi- 
botok^ " especially refers to the stone images of the Buddha 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 201 

so insensible, as we are assured, witli jocose 
irreverence, in the following : — 

" Forsake thisjitful world " / — 

( Lord Buddha's ) 

that was < or / teaching ! 

{ upside-down ) 

And Bagora,^ son of his loins ? — was he forgotten indeed f 

There is an untranslatable pun in the ori- 
ginal, which, if written in Romaji, would run 
thus : — 

Uki-yo wo sut^yo t'a 



Sorya < 



Shaka Sama ) 
saka-sama C ^ 



Ragora to iu ko wo 
Wasur^t^ ka ? 

Shahamuni is the Japanese rendering of 
" Sakyamuni ; " " Shaka Sama " is therefore 
"Lord Sakya," or "Lord Buddha." But 
saka-sama is a Japanese word meaning 
" topsy-turvy," " upside down ; " and the dif- 
ference between the pronunciation of Shaka 
Sama and saka-sama is slight enough to have 
suggested the pun. Love in suspense is not 
usually inclined to reverence. 

placed in cemeteries. — This song- is sung- in every part of 
Japan ; I have heard it many times in different places. 
^ Hahula. 



202 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Even while praying together in front of the tablets ancestral, 
Lovers find chance to murmur prayers never meant for the 
dead ! i 

And as for interrupters : — 

Hateful the wind or rain that ruins the bloom of flowers : 
Even more hateful far who obstructs the way of love. 

Yet the help of the Gods is earnestly be- 
sought : — 

I make my hyaku-do, traveling Love's dark pathway^ 
Ever praying to meet the owner of my heart. ^ 

^ Eko suru tot^ 
Hotok^ no raa^ y^ 
Futari mukait^, 

Konab^ dat^. 
Lit. : " Repeat prayers saying, dead-of-presence-in twain 
facing, — small-pan cooking ! " Hotokd means a dead 
person as well as a Buddha. (See my Glimpses of Unfa- 
miliar Japan: " The Household Shrine")- Konab4-date is 
an idiomatic expression signifying a lovers' t§te-k-t§te. It is 
derived from the phrase, Chin-chin kamo nabS ("cooking 
a wild duck in a pan "), — the idea suggested being that of 
the pleasure experienced by an amorous couple in eating out 
of the same dish. Chin-chin, an onomatope, expresses the 
sound of the gravy boiling. 

2 To perform the rite called "o-hyaku-do" means to 
make one hundred visits to a temple, saying a prayer each 
time. The expression " dark way of Love " {koi no yami or 
yamiji) is a Buddhist phrase ; love, being due to mayoi, or 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 203 

The interest attaching to the following typi- 
cal group of love-songs will be found to de- 
pend chiefly upon the Buddhist allusions : — 

In the bed of the River of Souls, or in waiting alone at evening. 
The pain differs nothing at all : to a mountain the pebble grows?- 

Who furthest after illusion wanders on Lovers dark pathway 
Is ever the clearest-seeing,^ not the simple or dull. 

illusion, is a state of spiritual darkness. The term " owner 
of my heart" is an attempted rendering of the Japanese 
word nushi, sig-nifying "master," "owner," — often, also, 
" landlord," — and, in love-matters, the lord or master of 
the affection inspired. 

1 Sai-no-kawara to 
Nushi matsu yoi wa 
Koishi, koishi ga 
Yama to naru. 

A more literal translation would be : " In the Sai-no- 
Kawara (' Dry bed of the River of Souls ') and in the evening 
when waiting for the loved one, ' Koishi, Koishi ' becomes a 
mountain." There is a delicate pun here, — a play on the 
word Koishi, which, as pronounced, though not as written, 
may mean either " a small stone," or " longing to see." In 
the bed of the phantom river, Sai-no-Kawa, the ghosts of 
children are obliged to pile up little stones, the weight of 
which increases so as to tax their strength to the utmost. 
There is a reference here also to a verse in the Buddhist 
wasan of Jizo, describing the crying of the children for their 
parents: ''^Chichi koishi! haha koishi ! ^' (See Glimpses of 
Unfamiliar Japan, vol. i. pp. 59-61.) 

^ Clearest-sighted, — that is, in worldly matters. 



204 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Coldly seen from without our love looks utter folly : 
Who never has felt mayoi never could understand ! 

Countless the men must be who dwell in three thousand worlds } 
Yet among them all is none worthy to change for mine?- 

However fickle I seem, my heart is never unfaithful : 
Out of the slime itself spotless the lotos grows.^ 

So that we stay together, even the Hell of the Blood Lake — 
Even the Mountain of Swords — will signify nothing at all.^ 

1 San-zen s^kai ni 
Otoko wa ar^do, 
Nushi ni mi-kayeru 
Hito wa nai. 
"San-zen sekai," the three thousand worlds, is a common 
Buddhist expression. Literally translated, the above song 
runs : " Three-thousand-worlds-in men are, but lover-to- 
exchange person is not." 

2 The familiar Buddhist simile is used more significantly 
here than the Western reader might suppose from the 
above rendering. These are supposed to be the words 
either of a professional singing-girl or of a joro. Her call- 
ing is derisively termed a doro-midzu kagyo ("foul-water 
occupation"); and her citation of the famous Buddhist 
comparison in self-defense is particularly, and pathetically, 

happy. 

^ Chi-no-Ik^-Jigoku mo, 

Tsurugi-no-Yama mo, 

Futari-dzur^ nara 

Itoi 'a s^nu. 

The Hell of the Blood-Lake is a hell for women; and 
the Mountain of Swords is usually depicted in Buddhist 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 205 

Not yet indeed is my body garbed in the ink-black habit ; — 
But as for this heart bereaved, already it is a nun.^ 

My hair, indeed, is uncut ; but my heart has become a religious; 
A nun it shall always be till the hour I meet him again. 

But even the priest or nun is not always ex- 
empt from the power of mayoi : — 

I am wearing the sable garb, — and yet, through illusion of 

longing, 
Ever I lose my way, — knowing not whither or where I 

So far, my examples have been principally 
chosen from the more serious class of dodoitsu. 
But in dodoitsu of a lighter class the Buddhist 
allusions are perhaps even more frequent. 
The following group of five will serve for 
specimens of hundreds : — 

prints as a place of infernal punishment for men in espe- 
cial. 

1 In the original much more pretty and much more 

simple : — 

Sumi no koromo ni 

Mi wa yatsusanedo, 

Kokoro hitotsu wa 

Ama-hoshi. 

" Ink-black-^oro/wo [priest's or nun's outer robe] in, body 
not clad, but heart-one nun." Hitotsu, "one," also means 
" solitary," " forlorn," " bereaved." Ama hoshi, lit. : " nun- 
priest." 



206 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

Never can he recalled the word too quickly spoken : 
Therefore with Emma's face the lover receives the prayer? 

Thrice did I hear that prayer with Buddha's face; hut here^ 

ter 
My face shall he Emma's face because of too many prayers. 

Now they are merry together ; hut under their hoat is Jigoku.^ 
Blow quickly, thou river-wind, — hlow a typhoon for my 
sake ! 

Vainly, to make him stay, I said that the crows were night 

crows ; ^ — 
The bell of the dawn peals doom, — the hell that cannot lie. 

1 The implication is that he has hastily promised more 
than he wishes to perform. Emma, or Yenuna (Sansc. 
Yama), is the Lord of Hell and Judge of Souls; and, as 
depicted in Buddhist sculpture and painting, is more than 
fearful to look upon. There is an evident reference in this 
song to the Buddhist proverb : Karu-toki no Jizo-gao ; nasu- 
ioki no Emma-gao (" Borrowing-time, the face of Jizo; re- 
paying-time, the face of Emma"). 

^ "Jigoku" is the Buddhist name for various hells 
(Sansc. narakas). The allusion here is to the proverb, 
Funa-ita ichi-mai shita wa Jigoku: "Under [the thickness 
of] a single boat-plank is hell," — referring to the perils of 
the sea. This song is a satire on jealousy; and the boat 
spoken of is probably a roofed pleasure-boat, such as excur- 
sions are made into the sound of music. 

3 Tsuki-yo-garasu, lit. : " moon-night crows." Crows usu-- 
ally announce the dawn by their cawing ; but sometimes on 
moonlight nights they caw at all hours from sunset to suik 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 207 

This my desire : To kill the crows of three thousand worlds, 
And then to repose in peace with the owner of my heart 1 ^ 

I have cited this last only as a curiosity. 
For it has a strange history, and is not what 
it seems, — although the apparent motive was 
certainly suggested by some song like the one 
immediately preceding it. It is a song of 
loyalty, and was composed by Kido of Cho- 
shu, one of the leaders in that great move- 
ment which brought about the downfall of the 
Shogunate, the restoration of the Imperial 
power, the reconstruction of Japanese society, 
and the introduction and adoption of Western 
civilization. Kido, Saigo, and Okubo are 
rightly termed the three heroes of the restora^ 
tion. While preparing his plans at Kyoto, in 
company with his friend Saigo, Kido com- 

rise. The bell referred to is the bell of some Buddhist 

temple : the aM-no-kane^ or " dawn-bell," being, in all parts 

of Japan, sounded from every Buddhist tera. There is a 

pun in the original ; — the expression tsukenai, " cannot tdl 

[a lie]," might also be interpreted phonetically as " cannot 

strike [a bell]." 

1 San-zen sdkai no 

Karasu wo koroshi 

Nushi to soi-n^ ga 

Shit^ mitai 1 



208 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS 

posed and sang this song as an intimation of 
his real sentiments. By the phrase, " ravens 
of the three thousand worlds," he designated 
the Tokugawa partisans ; by the word nushi 
(lord, or heart' s-master) he signified the Em- 
peror ; and by the term soine (reposing to- 
gether) he referred to the hoped-for condition 
of direct responsibility to the Throne, without 
further intervention of Shogun and daimyo. 
It was not the first example in Japanese his- 
tory of the use of popular song as a medium 
for the utterance of opinions which, expressed 
in plainer language, would have invited assas- 
sination. 

While I was writing the preceding note 
upon Kido's song, the Buddhist phrase, San- 
zen sekai (twice occurring, as the reader will 
have observed, in the present collection), sug- 
gested a few reflections with which this paper 
may fitly conclude. I remember that when I 
first attempted, years ago, to learn the out- 
lines of Buddhist philosophy, one fact which 
particularly impressed me was the vastness of 
the Buddhist concept of the universe. Bud- 
dhism, as I read it, had not offered itself to 



IN JAPANESE FOLK-SONG 209 

humanity as a saving creed for one inhabited 
world, but as the religion of " innumerable 
hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis ^ of 
worlds." And the modern scientific revela- 
tion of stellar evolution and dissolution then 
seemed to me, and still seems, like a prodi- 
gious confirmation of certain Buddhist theo- 
ries of cosmical law. 

The man of science to-day cannot ignore the 
enormous suggestions of the new story that 
the heavens are telling. He finds himself 
compelled to regard the development of what 
we call mind as a general phase or incident 
in the ripening of planetary life throughout 
the universe. He is obliged to consider the 
relation of our own petty sphere to the great 
swarming of suns and systems as no more 
than the relation of a single noctiluca to the 
phosphorescence of a sea. By its creed the 
Oriental intellect has been better prepared 
than the Occidental to accept this tremendous 
revelation, not as a wisdom that increaseth 
sorrow, but as a wisdom to quicken faith. 
And I cannot but think that out of the 
certain future union of Western knowledge 
1 1 k6ti = 10,000,000. 



210 BUDDHIST ALLUSIONS IN FOLK-SONG 

with Eastern thought there must eventually 
proceed a Neo-Buddhism inheriting all the 
strength of Science, yet spiritually able to 
recompense the seeker after truth with the 
recompense foretold in the twelfth chapter of 
the Sutra of the Diamond-Cutter. Taking 
the text as it stands, — in despite of commen- 
tators, — what more could be unselfishly de- 
sired from any spiritual teaching than the 
reward promised in that verse, — " They shall 
he endowed with the Highest Wonder " f 



IX 

NIRVANA 

A STUDY IN SYNTHETIC BUDDHISM 



" It is not possible, O Subhuti, that this treatise of the 
Law should be heard by beings of little faith, — by those 
who believe in Self, in beings, in living beings, and in per- 
sons." — The Diamond-Cutter. 

There still widely prevails in Europe and 
America the idea that Nirvana signifies, to 
Buddhist minds, neither more nor less than 
absolute nothingness, — complete annihilation. 
This idea is erroneous. But it is erroneous 
only because it contains half of a truth. This 
half of a truth has no value or interest, or 
even intelligibility, unless joined with the other 
half. And of the other half no suspicion yet 
exists in the average Western mind. 

Nirvana, indeed, signifies an extinction. But 
if by this extinction of individual being we 
understand soul-death, our conception of Nir- 



212 NIRVANA 

vana is wrong. Or if we take Nirvana to 
mean such reabsorption of the finite into the 
infinite as that predicted by Indian panthe- 
ism, again our idea is foreign to Buddhism. 

Nevertheless, if we declare that Nirvana . 
means the extinction of individual sensation, 
emotion, thought, — the final disintegration ^^ 
of conscious personality, — the annihilation of 
everything that can be included under the 
term "I," — then we rightly express one side 
of the Buddhist teaching. 

The apparent contradiction of the forego- 
ing statements is due only to our Occidental 
notion of Self. Self to us signifies feelings, 
ideas, memory, volition ; and it can scarcely 
occur to any person not familiar with German 
idealism even to imagine that consciousness 
might not be Self. The Buddhist, on the con- 
trary, declares all that we call Self to be false. 
He defines the Ego as a mere temporary ag- 
gregate of sensations, impulses, ideas, created 
by the physical and mental experiences of the 
race, — all related to the perishable body, 
and all doomed to dissolve with it. What to 
Western reasoning seems the most indubitable 



NIRVANA 213 

of realities, Buddliist reasoning pronounces 
the greatest of all illusions, and even the 
source of all sorrow and sin. " The mind, 
the thoughts, and all the senses are subject 
to the law oj' life and death. With know- 
ledge of Self and the laws of birth and death, 
there is no grasping, and no sense-perception. 
Knowing ones self and knowing how the 
senses act, there is no room for the idea of '/,' 
or the ground for framing it. The thought 
of ''Self ^ gives rise to all sorrows, — binding 
the world as with fetters ; but having found 
there is no ' /' that can be bound, then all 
these bonds are severed,'' ^ 

The above text suggests very plainly that 
the consciousness is not the Real Self, and that 
the mind dies with the body. Any reader 
unfamiliar with Buddhist thought may well 
ask, " What, then, is the meaning of the doc- 
trine of Karma, the doctrine of moral pro- 
gression, the doctrine of the consequence of 
acts ? " Indeed, to try to study, only with the 
ontological ideas of the West, even such trans- 
lations of the Buddhist Sutras as those given 
in the " Sacred Books of the East," is to be 

1 Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-Eing. 



214 NIRVANA 

at every page confronted by seemingly hope* 
less riddles and contradictions. We find a 
doctrine of rebirth ; but the existence of a 
soul is denied. We are told that the mis- 
fortunes of this life are punishments of faults 
committed in a previous life^ yet personal 
transmigration does not take place. We find 
the statement that beings are reindividual- 
ized ; yet both individuality and personality 
are called illusions. I doubt whether any- 
body not acquainted with the deeper forms of 
Buddhist belief could possibly understand the 
following extracts which I have made from 
the first volume of "The Questions of King 
Milinda:" — 

The King said: "Nagasena, is there any one 
who after death is not reindividualized ? " Naga- 
sena answered : " A sinful being is reindividual- 
ized ; a sinless one is not." (p. 50.) 

*' Is there, Nagasena, such a thing as the soul ? " 
"There is no such thing as soul." (pp. 86-89.) 
[The same statement is repeated in a later chapter 
(p. Ill), with a qualification: ^' In the highest 
sense, King, there is no such thing."] 

" Is there any being, Nagasena, who transmi- 
grates from this body to another ? " " No : there 
is not." (p. 112.) 



NIRVANA 215 

" Where there is no transmigration, Nagasena, 
can there be rebirth ? " " Yes : there can." 

" Does he, Nagasena, who is about to be reborn, 
know that he will be reborn ? " " Yes : he knows 
it, O King." (p. 113.) 

Naturally the Western reader may ask, — 
" How can there be reindividualization with- 
out a soul ? How can there be rebirth without 
transmigration? How can there be personal 
foreknowledge of rebirth without personal- 
ity? " But the answers to such questions 
will not be found in the work cited. 

It would be wrong to suppose that the cita- 
tions given offer any exceptional difficulty. 
As to the doctrine of the annihilation of Self, 
the testimony of nearly all those Buddhist 
texts now accessible to English readers is 
overwhelming. Perhaps the Sutra of the 
Great Decease furnishes the most remarkable 
evidence contained in the " Sacred Books of 
the East." In its account of the Eight Stages 
of Deliverance leading to Nirvana, it explicitly 
describes what we should be justified in call- 
ing, from our Western point of view, the pro- 
cess of absolute annihilation. We are told 
that in the first of these eight stages the Bud- 



216 NIRVANA 

dhist seeker after truth still retains the ideas 
of form — subjective and objective. In the 
second stage he loses the subjective idea of 
form, and views forms as external phenomena 
only. In the third stage the sense of the 
approaching perception of larger truth comes 
to him. In the fourth stage he passes beyond 
all ideas of form, ideas of resistance, and ideas 
of distinction ; and there remains to him only 
the idea of infinite space. In the fifth stage 
the idea of infinite space vanishes, and the 
thought comes : It is all infinite reason, 
[Here is the uttermost limit, many might sup- 
pose, of pantheistic idealism ; but it is only 
the half way resting-place on the path which 
the Buddhist thinker must pursue.] In the 
sixth stage the thought comes, ''''Nothing at 
all exists,''^ In the seventh stage the idea of 
nothingness itself vanishes. In the eighth 
stage all sensations and ideas cease to exist. 
And after this comes Nirvana. 

The same sutra, in recounting the death of 
the Buddha, represents him as rapidly passing 
through the first, second, third, and fourth 
stages of meditation to enter into " that state 
of mind to which the Infinity of Space alone 



NIRVANA 217 

IS present," — and thence into " that state of 
mind to which the Infinity of Thought alone 
is present," — and thence into *' that state of 
mind to which nothing at all is specially pres- 
ent," — and thence into "that state of mind 
between consciousness and unconsciousness," 
— and thence into " that state of mind in 
which the consciousness both of sensations and 
of ideas has wholly passed away." 

For the reader who has made any serious 
attempt to obtain a general idea of Buddhism, 
such citations are scarcely necessary; since 
the fundamental doctrine of the concatenation 
of cause and effect contains the same denial 
of the reality of Self and suggests the same 
enigmas. Illusion produces action or Karma ; 
Karma, self-consciousness ; self-consciousness, 
individuality ; individuality, the senses ; the 
senses, contact ; contact, feeling ; feeling, de- 
sire ; desire, union ; union, conception ; con- 
ception, birth ; birth, sorrow and decrepitude 
and death. Doubtless the reader knows the 
doctrine of the destruction of the twelve Nida- 
nas ; and it is needless here to repeat it at 
length. But he may be reminded of the teach- 
ing that by the cessation of contact feeling is 



218 NIRVANA 

destroyed ; by that of feeling, individuality ; 
and by that of individuality, self-conscious- 
ness. 

Evidently, without a preliminary solution 
of the riddles offered by such texts, any effort 
to learn the meaning of Nirvana is hopeless* 
Before being able to comprehend the true 
meaning of those sutras now made familiar 
to English readers by translation, it is neces- 
sary to understand that the common Occiden- 
tal ideas of God and Soul, of matter, of spirit, 
have no existence in Buddhist philosophy ; 
their places being occupied by concepts hav- 
ing no real counterparts in Western religious 
thought. Above all, it is necessary that the 
reader shoidd expel from his mind the theolo- 
gical idea of Soul. The texts already quoted 
should have made it clear that yin Buddliist 
philosophy there is no personal transmigra- 
tion, and no individual permanent Soul. 



NIRVANA 219 



II 

" O Bhagavat, the idea of a self is no idea ; and the idea 
of a being, or a living person, or a person, is no idea. And 
why ? Because the blessed Buddhas are freed from all 
ideas." — The Diamond -Cutter. 

And now let us try to understand what it 
is that dies, and what it is that is reborn, — 
what it is that commits faults and what it 
is that suffers penalties, — what passes from 
states of woe to states of bliss, — what enters 
into Nirvana after the destruction of self -con- 
sciousness, — what survives " extinction " and 
has power to return out of Nirvana, — what 
experiences the Four Infinite Feelings after 
all finite feeling has been annihilated. 

It is not the sentient and conscious Self 
that enters Nirvana. The Ego is only a 
temporary aggregate of countless illusions, a 
phantom-shell, a bubble sure to break. It is 
a creation of Karma, — or rather, as a Bud- 
dhist friend insists, it is Karma. To compre- 
hend the statement fully, the reader should 
know that, in this Oriental philosophy, acts 
and thoughts are forces integrating them- 
selves into material and mental phenomena, 



220 NIRVANA 

— into what we call objective and subjective 
appearances. The very earth we tread upon, 

— the mountains and forests, the rivers and 
seas, the world and its moon, the visible uni- 
verse in short, — is the integration of acts 
and thoughts^ is Karma, or, at least, Being 
conditioned by Karma.^ 

1 " The aggregate actions of all sentient beings give 
birth to the varieties of mountains, rivers, countries, etc. 
. . . Their eyes, nostrils, ears, tongues, bodies, — as well as 
their gardens, woods, farms, residences, servants, and maids, 

— men imagine to be their own possessions ; but they are, . 
in truth, only results produced by innunaerable actions.'* 

— KuRODA, Outlines of the Mahayana. 

" Grass, trees, earth, — all these shall become Buddha." 

— Chu-in-kyo." 

" Even swords and things of metal are manifestations 
of spirit : within them exist all virtues \_or ''power 'J in their 
fullest development and perfection." — Hizo-h6-yaku. 

" When called sentient or non-sentient, matter is Law- 
Body [or ' spiritual body ']." — Chisho-hisho. 

" The Apparent Doctrine treats of the four great ele- 
ments [eartA, jire, water ^ air^ as non-sentient. But in the 
Hidden Doctrine these are said to be the Sammya-Shin 
[*Sa//iya-iia^a], or Body- Accordant of the Nyorai [Tatha- 

gata]." — SOKU-SHIN-JO-BUTSU-GI. 

" When every phase of our mind shall be in accord with 
the mind of Buddha, . . . then there will not be even one 
particle of dust that does not enter into Buddhaliood." — 
Engaku-Sho. 



f 

^9^ NIRVANA 221 

The Karma-Ego we call Self is mind and 
is body ; — both perpetually decay ; both are 
perpetually renewed. From the unknown be- 
ginning, this double - phenomenon, objective 
and subjective, has been alternately dissolved 
and integrated : each integration is a birth ; 
each dissolution a death. There is no other 
birth or death but the birth and death of 
Karma in some form or condition. ^But at 
each rebirth the reintegration is never the 
reintegration of the identical phenomenon, 
but of another to which it gives rise, — as 
growth begets growth, as motion produces 
motion. So that the phantom-self changes 
not only as to form and condition, but as to 
actual personality with every reembodiment. 
There is one Reality ; but there is no per- 
manent individual, no constant personality : 
there is only phantom-self, and phantom suc- 
ceeds to phantom, as undulation to undula- 
tion, over the ghostly Sea of Birth and Death. 
And even as the storming of a sea is a 
motion of undulation, not of translation, — 
even as it is the form of the wave only, not 
the wave itself, that travels, — so in the pass- 
ing of lives there is only the rising and the 



222 NIRVANA 



r 



vanishing of forms, — forms mental, forms 
material. The fathomless Reality does nof^ 
pass. " All forms," it is written in the i^ 
J^ongd-hannya-haramitsu-Kyo^ " are unreal : 
he who rises above all forms is the Buddha." 
But what can remain to rise above all forms 
after the total disintegration of body and the 
final dissolution of mind ? 

Unconsciously dwelling behind the false 
consciousness of imperfect man, — beyond 
sensation, perception, thought, — wrapped in 
the envelope of what we call soul (which in 
truth is only a thickly woven veil of illusion), 
is the eternal and divine, the Absolute Real- 
ity : not a soul, not a personality, but the 
All-Self without selfishness, — the Muga no 
Taiga^ — the Buddha enwombed in Karma. 
Within every phantom-self dwells this divine : 
yet the innumerable are but one. Within 
every creature incarnate sleeps the Infinite 
Intelligence unevolved, hidden, unfelt, un- 
known, — yet destined from all the eternities 
to waken at last, to rend away the ghostly 
web of sensuous mind, to break forever its 
chrysalis of flesh, and pass to the supreme 

^ Vagra-pragna-paramita-Sutra. 



NIRVANA 223 

conquest of Space and Time. Wherefore it 
is written in the Kegon-Kyo (Avatamsaka- 
Sutra) : " Child of Buddha, there is not even 
one living being that has not the wisdom of 
the Tathagata. It is only because of their 
vain thoughts and affections that all beings 
are not conscious of this. ... I will teach 
them the holy Way ; — I will make them for- 
sake their foolish thoughts, and cause them 
to see that the vast and deep intelligence 
which dwells within them is not different 
from the wisdom of the very Buddha." 

Here we may pause to consider the corre- 
spondence between these fundamental Bud- 
dhist theories and the concepts of Western 
science. It will be evident that the Buddhist 
denial of the reality of the apparitional world 
is not a denial of the reality of phenomena 
as phenomena, nor a denial of the forces pro- 
ducing phenomena objectively or subjectively. 
For the negation of Karma as Karma would 
involve the negation of the entire Buddhist 
system. The true declaration is, that what we 
perceive is never reality in itself, and that 
even the Ego that perceives is an unstable 



224 NIRVANA 

plexus of aggregates of feelings which are 
themselves unstable and in the nature of illu- 
sions. This position is scientifically strong, — 
perhaps impregnable. Of substance in itseK 
we certainly know nothing : we are conscious 
of the universe as a vast play of forces only ; 
and, even while we discern the general relative 
meaning of laws expressed in the action of 
those forces, all that which is Non-Ego is 
revealed to us merely through the vibrations 
of a nervous structure never exactly the same 
in any two human beings. Yet through such 
varying and imperfect perception we are suf- 
ficiently assured of the impermanency of all 
forms, — of all aggregates objective or sub- 
jective. 

The test of reality is persistence ; and the 
Buddhist, finding in the visible universe only 
a perpetual flux of phenomena, declares the 
material aggregate unreal because non-persist- 
ent, — unreal, at least, as a bubble, a cloud, 
or a mirage. Again, relation is the universal 
form of thought ; but since relation is imper- 
manent, how can thought be persistent ? . . . 
Judged from these points of view, Buddhist 
doctrine is not Anti-Realism, but a veritable 



NIRVANA 225 

Transfigured Realism, finding just expression 
in the exact words of Herbert Spencer : — 
" Every feeling and thought being but transi- 
tory; — an entire life made up of such feel- 
ings and thoughts being also but transitory; 
— nay, the objects amid which life is passed, 
though less transitory, being severally in the 
course of losing their individualities, whether 
quickly or slowly, — we learn that the one 
thing permanent is the Unknowable Heality 
hidden under all these changing shapes.^^ 

Likewise, the teaching of Buddhism, that 
what we call Self is an impermanent aggre- 
gate, — a sensuous illusion, — will prove, if 
patiently analyzed, scarcely possible for any 
serious thinker to deny. Mind, as known to 
the scientific psychologist, is composed of feel- 
ings and the relations between feelings ; and 
feelings are composed of units of simple sen- 
sation which are physiologically coincident 
with minute nervous shocks. All the sense- 
organs are fundamentally alike, being evolu- 
tional modifications of the same morphological 
elements ; — and all the senses are modifica- 
tions of touch. Or, to use the simplest pos- 
sible langniag^, the organs of sense — sight, 



226 NIRVANA 

smell, taste, even hearing — have been alike 
developed from the skin! Even the human j 
brain itself, by the modern testimony of his- Kr^ 
tology and embryology, "is, at its first be- Jl 
ginning, merely an infolding of the epidermic 
layer ; " and thought, physiologically and evo- 
lutionally, is thus a modification of touch. 
Certain vibrations, acting through the visual 
apparatus, cause within the brain those mo- 
tions which are followed by the sensations of 
light and color ; — other vibrations, acting 
upon the auditory mechanism, give rise to the 
sensation of sound ; — other vibrations, setting 
up changes in specialized tissue, produce sen- 
sations of taste, smell, touch. All our know- : 
ledge is derived and developed, directly or 
indirectly, from physical sensation, — from 
touch. Of course this is no ultimate expla- 
nation, because nobody can tell us what feels 
the touch. "Everything physical," well said 
Schopenhauer, "is at the same time meta- 
physical." But science fully justifies the Bud- 
dhist position that what we call Self is a 
bundle of sensations, emotions, sentiments, 
ideas, memories, all relating to the physical 
experiences of the race and the individual, 



NIRVANA 227 

and that our wish for immortality is a wish 
for the eternity of this merely sensuous and 
selfish consciousness. And science even sup- 
ports the Buddhist denial of the permanence 
of the sensuous Ego. "Psychology," says 
Wundt, "proves that not only our sense-per- 
ceptions, but the memorial images that renew 
them, depend for their origin upon the func- 
tioninffs of the oro^ans of sense and move- 
ment. ... A continuance of this sensuous 
consciousness must appear to her irreconcil- 
able with the facts of her experience. And 
surely we may well doubt whether such con- 
tinuance is an ethical requisite : more, whether 
the fulfillment of the wish for it, if possible, 
were not an intolerable destiny." 



ni 

" O Subhfiti, if I had had an idea of a being, of a living 
being, or of a person, I should also have had an idea of 
malevolence. ... A gift should not be given by any one 
■who believes in form, sound, smell, taste, or anything that 
can be touched." — The Diamond-Cutter. 

The doctrine of the impermanency of the 
conscious Ego is not only the most remark- 
able in Buddhist philosophy : it is also, 



228 NIRVANA 

morally, one of the most important. Per- 
haps the ethical value of this teaching has 
never yet been fairly estimated by any West- 
ern thinker. How much of human unhappi- 
ness has been caused, directly and indirectly, 
by opposite beliefs, — by the delusion of sta- . 
bility, — by the delusion that distinctions of • 
character, condition, class, creed, are settled 
by immutable law, — and the delusion of a 
changeless, immortal, sentient soul, destined, 
by divine caprice, to eternities of bliss or 
eternities of fire ! Doubtless the ideas of a 
deity moved by everlasting hate, — of soul as 
a permanent, changeless entity destined to 
changeless states, — of sin as unatonable and /^ ' 
of penalty as never-ending, — were not with- 
out value in former savage stages of social 
development. But in the course of our future 
evolution they must be utterly got rid of ; and 
it may be hoped that the contact of Western 
with Oriental thought will have for one happy 
result the acceleration of their decay. While 
even the feelings which they have developed 
linger with us, there can be no true spirit of 
tolerance, no sense of human brotherhood, no 
wakening of universal love. 



NIRVANA 229 

Buddhism, on the other hand, recognizing 
no permanency, no finite stabilities, no dis- 
tinctions of character or class or race, except 
as passing phenomena, — naj^, no difference 
even between gods and men, — has been es- 
sentially the religion of tolerance. Demon 
and angel are but varying manifestations of 
the same Karma ; — hell and heaven mere 
temporary halting-places upon the journey to 
eternal peace. For all beings there is but 
one law, — immutable and divine : the law by 
which the lowest must rise to the place of the 
highest, — the law by which the worst must 
become the best, — the law by which the vilest 
must become a Buddha. In such a system 
there is no room for prejudice and for hatred. 
Ignorance alone is the source of wrong and 
pain ; and all ignorance must finally be dissi- 
pated in infinite light through the decomposi- 
tion of Self. 

Certainly while we still try to cling to the 
old theories of permanent personality, and of 
a single incarnation only for each individual, 
we can find no moral meaning in the universe 
as it exists. Modern knowledge can discover 



u" 



230 NIRVANA 

no justice in the cosmic process; — the very 
most it can offer us by way of ethical encour- 
agement is that the unknowable forces are 
not forces of pure malevolence. " Neither 
moral nor immoral," to quote Huxley, " but 
simply unmoral." Evolutional science cannot 
be made to accord with the notion of indissolu- 
ble personality ; and if we accept its teaching 
of mental growth and inheritance, we must 
also accept its teaching of individual dissolu- 
tion and of the cosmos as inexplicable. It as- 
sures us, indeed, that the higher faculties of 
man have been developed through struggle 
and pain, and will long continue to be so de- 
veloped ; but it also assures us that evolution 
is inevitably followed by dissolution, — that 
the highest point of development is the point 
likewise from which retrogression begins. 
And if we are each and all mere perishable 
forms of being, — doomed to pass away like 
plants and trees, — what consolation can we 
find in the assurance that we are suffering for 
the benefit of the future ? How can it con- 
cern us whether humanity become more or 
less happy in another myriad ages, if there 
remains nothing for us but to live and die 



NIRVANA 231 

in comparative misery ? Or, to repeat the 
irony of Huxley, " what compensation does 
the Eohippus get for his sorrows in the faci 
that, some millions of years afterwards, one 
of his descendants wins the Derby ? " 

But the cosmic process may assume quite 
another aspect if we can persuade ourselves, 
like the Buddhist, that all being is Unity, — 
that personality is but a delusion hiding real- 
ity, — that all distinctions of " I " and " thou " 
are ghostly films spun out of perishable sensa- 
tion, — that even Time and Place as revealed 
to our petty senses are phantasms, — that the 
past and the present and the future are veri- 
tably One. Suppose the winner of the Derby 
quite well able to remember having been the 
Eohippus? Suppose the being, once man, 
able to look back through all veils of death 
and birth, through all evolutions of evolution, 
even to the moment of the first faint growth 
of sentiency out of non-sentiency ; — able to 
remember, like the Buddha of the Jatakas, 
all the experiences of his myriad incarnations, 
and to relate them like fairy-tales for the sake 
of another Ananda ? 



232 NIRVANA 

I 

We liavft sftftn that it is not the Self j^nt 

the Non-Self — thp. nnp. reality imflprlying gll 
p henom e na. — which passes from form to form. 
^ The striving for Nirvana is a struggle perpet' 
ua\ between false and true, light and darkness, 
the sensual and the supersensual ; and the ul- 
timate victory can be gained only by the total 
decomposition of the mental and the physical 
individuality. Not one conquest of self can 
suffice : millions of selves must be overcome. 
For the false Ego is a compound of countless 
ages, — possesses a vitality enduring beyond 
universes. At each breaking and shedding of 
the chrysalis a new chrysalis appears, — more 
tenons, perhaps, more diaphanous, but woven 
of like sensuous material, — a mental and 
physical texture spun by Karma from the in- 
herited illusions, passions, desires, pains and 
pleasures, of innumerable lives. But what is 
it that feels ? — the phantom or the reality ? 

All phenomena of /S^eZ/^consciousness belong 
to the false self, — but only as a physiologist 
might say that sensation is a product of the 
sensiferous apparatus, which would not ex- 
plain sensation. No more in Buddhism than 
in physiological psychology is there any real 



NIRVANA 233 

teaching of two feeling entities. In Bud- ' 
dliism the only entity is the Absolute ; and 
to that entity the false self stands in the rela- 
tion of a medium through which right percep- 
tion is deflected and distorted, — in which and 
because of which sentiency and impulse be^^- 
come possible. The unconditioned Absolute 
is above all relations : it has nothing of what 
we call pain or pleasure ; it knows no differ- 
ence of " I " and " thou," — no distinction of 
place or time. But while conditioned by the 
illusion of personality, it is aware of pain or 
pleasure, as a dreamer perceives unrealities 
without being conscious of their unreality. 
Pleasures and pains and all the feelings re- 
lating to self -consciousness are hallucinations. 
The false self exists only as a state of sleep 
exists ; and sentiency and desire, and all the 
sorrows and passions of being, exist only as 
illusions of that sleep. 

But here we reach a point at which science 
and Buddhism diverge. Modern psychology ^ 
recognizes no feelings not evolutionally devel- 
oped through the experiences of the race and 
the individual ; but Buddhism asserts the /^ 
existence of feelings which are immorta' and 



234 NIRVANA 

divine. It declares that in this Karma-state 
the greater part of our sensations, perceptions, 
ideas, thoughts, are related only to the phan- 
tom self ; — that our mental life is little more 
than a flow of feelings and desires belonging 
to selfishness ; — that our loves and hates, and 
hopes and fears, and pleasures and pains, are 
illusions ; ^ — but it also declares there are 
higher feelings, more or less latent within us, 
according to our degree of knowledge, which 
have nothing to do with the false self, and 
which are eternal. 

Though science pronounces the ultimate na- 
ture of pleasures and p^ins to be inscrutable, 
it partly confirms the Buddhist teaching of 
their impermanent character. Both appear * 
to belong rather to secondary than to primary 
elements of feeling, and both to be evolutions, 
— forms of sensation developed, through bil- 
lions of life-experiences, out of primal con- 
ditions in which there can have been neither 
real pleasure nor real pain, but only the 
vaguest dull sentiency. The higher the evo- 
lution the more pain, and the larger the vol* 

^ ''Pleasures and paiiis have their origin from touch: 
where there is no touch, they do not arise." — Atthako' 
vagga, 11. 



NIRVANA 235 

time of all sensation. After the state of , 
equilibration has been reached, the volume 
of feeling will begin to diminish. The finer 
pleasures and the keener pains must first be- 
come extinct ; then by gradual stages the less 
complex feelings, according to their complex- 
ity ; till at last, in all the refrigerating planet, 
there will survive not even the simplest sen- 
sation possible to the lowest form of life. 

But, according to the Buddhist, the highest / 
moral feelings survive races and suns and 
universes. The purely unselfish feelings, im- 
possible to grosser natures, belong to the 
Absolute. In generous natures the divine be- 
comes sentient, — quickens within the shell of 
illusion, as a c^ild quickens in the womb 
(whence illusion itself is called The Womb of 
the Tathagata). In yet higher natures the 
feelings which are not of self find room for 
pqwerful manifestation, — shine through the 
phantom-Ego as light through a vase. Such 
are purely unselfish love, larger than individ- 
ual being, — supreme compassion, — perfect 
benevolence : they are not of man, but of 
the Buddha within the man. And as these 
expand, all the feelings of self begin to thin 



236 NIRVANA 

and weaken. The condition of the phantom- 
Ego simultaneously purifies : all those opa- 
cities which darkened the reality of Mind 
within the mirage of mind begin to illumine ; 
and the sense of the infinite, like a thrilling of 
light, passes through the dream of personality 
into the awakening divine.^ 

But in the case of the average seeker after 
truth, this refinement and ultimate decomposi- ;; 
tion of self can be effected only with lentor inex- 
pressible. The phantom-individuality, though 
enduring only for the space of a single life- 
time, shapes out of the sum of its innate qual- 
ities, and out of the sum of its own particu- 
lar acts and thoughts, the new combination 
which succeeds it, — a fresh individuality, — "- 
another prison of illusion for the Self-without- 
selfishness.'^ As name and form, the false self y 
dissolves ; but its impulses live on and recom- 

^ " To reach the state of the perfect and everlasting- hap- 
piness is the highest Nirvana ; for then all mental phenom- 
ena — such as desires, etc. — are annihilated. And as such 
mental phenomena are annihilated, there appears the true 
nature of true mind with all its innumerable functions and 
miraculous actions." — Kuboda, Outlines of the Makayana. 

2 It is on the subject of this propagation and perpetuation 
of characters that the doctrine of Karma is in partial agree- 



NIRVANA 237 

bine ; and the final destruction of those im- 
pulses — the total extinction of their ghostly 
vitality, — may require a protraction of effort 
through billions of centuries. Perpetually 
from the ashes of burnt-out passions subtler 
passions are born, — perpetually from the 
graves of illusions new illusions arise. The 
most powerfid of human passions is the last 
to yield : it persists far into superhuman con- 
ditions. Even when its grosser forms have 
passed away, its tendencies still lurk in those 
feelings originally derived from it or inter- 
woven with it, — the sens ation of beau ty, for 
example, and the delight_of_the mind in grace- 
ful things. On earth these are classed among 
the higher feelings. But in a supramundane 
state their indulgence is fraught with peril : a 
touch or a look may cause the broken fetters 
of sensual bondage to reform. Beyond all 
worlds of sex there are strange zones in which 
thoughts and memories become tangible and 
visible objective facts, — in which emotional 
fancies are materialized, — in which the least 
unworthy wish may prove creative. 

ment with the modern scientific teaching of the hereditary 
transmission of tendencies. 



238 NIRVANA 

It may be said, in Western religious phrase- 
ology, that throughout the greater part of this 
vast pilgrimage, and in all the zones of desire, 
the temptations increase according to the spirit- 
ual strength of resistance. With every succes- 



sive ascent there is a further expansion of the 
possibilities of enjoyment, an augmentation of 



power^^a heightening of sensation. Immense 
the reward of self-conquest ; but whosoever 
strives for that reward strives after emptiness. 
One must not desire heaven as a state of pleas- 
ure ; it has been written, Erroneous thoughts 
as to the joys of heaven are still entwined hy 
the fast cords of lust. One must not wish 
to become a god or an angel. " Whatsoever 
brother, O Bhikkus," — the Teacher said, — 
" may have adopted the religious life thinking, 
to himself, ' By this morality I shall become an 
angel^ his mind does not incline to zeal, per- 
severance, exertion." Perhaps the most vivid 
exposition of the duty of the winner of hap- 
piness is that given in the Sutra of the Great 
King of Glory. This great king, coming into 
possession of all imaginable wealth and power, 
abstains from enjoyments, despises splendors, 
refuses the caresses of a Queen dowered with 



NIRVANA 239 

" the beauty of the gods," and bids her demand 
of him, out of her own lips, that he forsake 
her. She, with dutiful sweetness, but not 
without natural tears, obeys him ; and he 
passes at once out of existence. Every such 
refusal of the prizes gained by virtue helps to 
cause a still more fortunate birth in a still 
loftier state of being. But no state should be 
desired ; and it is only after the wish for Nir- 
vana itself has ceased that Nirvana can be 
attained. 

And now we may venture for a little while 
into the most fantastic region of Buddhist 
ontology, — since, without some definite notion 
of the course of psychical evolution therein 
described, the suggestive worth of the system 
cannot be fairly judged. Certainly I am ask- 
ing the reader to consider a theory about what 
is beyond the uttermost limit of possible hu- 
man knowledge. But as much of the Bud- 



dhist doctrine as can be st udied and te sted 

wifKin the limit of human knowledsfe is found 

^ »~ . 

to accord wit h scientifi c o pim'onJ iQttftr than 
does any other religious^ypothesis ; and some 
oTthe Buddhist teachings prove to be incom- 



240 NIRVANA 

prehensible anticipations of modern scientific 
discovery— ^can it, therefore, seem unreason- 
able to claim that even the pure fancies of a 
faith so much older than our own, and so 
much more capable of being reconciled with 
the widest expansions of nineteenth-century 
thought, deserve at least respectful considera- 
tion? 

IV 

" Non-existence is only the entrance to the Great Ve- 
hicle." — Daibon-Kyoi. 

"And in which way is it, Siha, that one speaking truly 
could say of me : ' The Samana Gotama maintains annihi- 
lation ; — he teaches the doctrine of annihilation ' ? I pro- 
claim, Siha, the annihilation of lust, of ill-will, of delusion ; 
I proclaim the annihilation of the manifold conditions (of 
heart) which are evil and not good." — Mahavagga, vi. 
31.7. 

" JVin mite^ ho tohe " (see first the person, 
then preach the law) is a Japanese proverb 
signifying that Buddhism should be taught 
according to the capacity of the pupil. And 
the great systems of Buddhist doctrine are 
actually divided into progressive stages (five 
usually), to be studied in succession, or other- 
wise, according to the intellectual ability of 



NIRVANA 241 

the learner. Also there are many varieties of 
special doctrine held by the different sects and 
sub-sects, — so that, to make any satisfactory 
outline of Buddhist ontology, it is necessary 
to shape a synthesis of the more important and 
non-conflicting among these many tenets. I 
need scarcely say that popular Buddhism does 
not include concepts such as we have been 
examining. The people hold to the simpler 
creed of a veritabl e transn ii gration of so ulgu-- 
The people understand Karma only as the 
law th at makes the punishment or rewardTo l 
faults committe d in previous j ives^ .The peo- 
ple do not trouble themselves about Nehan or 
Nirvana ; ^ but they think much about heaven 
(^Gokuraku)^ which the members of many 
sects believe can be attained immediately af- 
ter this life by the spirits of the good. The 

^ Scarcely a day passes that I do not hear such words ut- 
tered as ingwa, gokuraku, gosho, — or other words referring 
to Karma, heaven, future life, past life, etc. But I have 
never heard a man or woman of the people use the word 
" Nehan ; " and whenever I have ventured to question such 
about Nirvana, I found that its philosophical meaning- was 
unknown. On the other hand, the Japanese scholar speaks 
of Nehan as the reality, — of heaven, either as a temporary 
conditioB or as a parable. 



242 NIRVANA 

followers of the greatest and richest of the 
modern sects — the Shinshu — hold that, by 
the invocation of Amida, a righteous person 
can pass at once after death to the great Para- 
dise of the West, — the Paradise of the Lotos- 
riower-Birth. I am taking no account of 
popular beliefs in this little study, nor of 
doctrines peculiar to any one sect only. 

But there are many differences in the higher 
teaching as to the attainment of Nirvana. 
Some authorities hold that the supreme hap- 
piness can be won, or at least seen, even on 
this earth ; while others declare that the 
present world is too corrupt to allow of a per- 
fect life, and that only by winning, through 
good deeds, the privilege of rebirth into a 
better world, can men hope for opportunity 
to practice that holiness which leads to the 
highest bliss. The latter opinion, which posits 
the superior conditions of being in other 
worlds, better expresses the general thought 
of contemporary Buddhism in Japan. 

The conditions of human and of animal 
beino: belong: to what are termed the Worlds 
of Desire (^Yohu-Kai), — which are four in 




^m<i^ANA 243 

number. Below these are the states of tor- 
ment or hells (Jigohu)^ about which many 
curious things are written ; but neither the 
Yoku-Kai nor the Jigoku need be considered 
in relation to the purpose of this little essay. 
We have only to do with the course of spirit- 
ual progress from the world of men up to 
Nirvana, — assuming, with modern Buddhism, 
that the pilgrimage through death and birth 
must continue, for the majority of mankind at 
least, even after the attainment of the highest 
conditions possible upon this globe. The way 
rises from terrestrial conditions to other and ^ 

superior worlds, — passing first through the 
Six Heavens of Desire {Yoku-Ten) ; — thence ^^A 
through the Seventeen Heavens of Form S^ 
1q ) (^Shiki-Kai) \ — and lastly through the Four ^^\ 
Heavens of Formlessness {Mushiki-Ka%)^ 






A^ beyond which lies Nirvana. 

The requirements of physical life — the 
need of food, rest, and sexual relations — 
continue to be felt in the Heavens of Desire, 
— which would seem to be higher physical 
worlds rather than what we commonly under- 
stand by the expression "heavens." Indeed, 
the conditions in some of them are such as 



\ 



244 NIRVANA 

might be supposed to exist in planets more 
favored than our own, — in larger spheres 
warmed by a more genial sun. And some 
Buddhist texts actually place them in remote 
constellations, — declaring that the Path leads 
from star to star, from galaxy to galaxy, from 
universe to universe, up to the Limit of Exist- 
ence.^ 

C In the first of the heavens of this zone, 

called the Heaven of the Four Kings (/SAi- 
^ Tennd-Ten)^ life lasts five times longer than 

y^ life on this earth according to number of years, 

v|k\ and each year there is equal to fifty terrestrial 
years. But its inhabitants eat and drink, and 
marry and give in marriage, much after the 
-^ fashion of mankind. In the succeeding heaven 

^jy, (^Sanjiu-san-Teii)^ the duration of life is 

doubled, while all other conditions are corre- 
spondingly improved ; and the grosser forms 



k 



% 

V 



» 



^ This astronomical localization of higher conditions of 
being, or of other " Buddha-fields," may provoke a smile ; 
but it suggests undeniable possibilities. There is no absurd- 
ity in supposing that potentialities of life and growth and 
development really pass, with nebular diffusion and concen- 
tration, from expired systems to new systems. Indeed, not 
to suppose this, in our present state of knowledge, is scarcely 
possible for the rational mind. 



NIRVANA 245 

of passion disappear. The union of the sexes 
persists, but in a manner curiously similar to 
that which a certain Father of the Christian 
Church wished might become possible, — a 
simple embrace producing a new being. In 
the third heaven (called Emma-Teii)^ where 
longevity is again doubled, the slightest touch 
may create life. In the fourth, or Heaven 
of Contentment (^Tockita-Teii)^ longevity is 
further increased. In the fifth, or Heaven 
of the Transmutation of Pleasure (^Keraku- 
Ten)^ strange new powers are gained. Sub- 
jective pleasures become changed at will into 
objective pleasures ; — thoughts as well as 
wishes become creative forces ; — and even the 
act of seeing may cause conception and birth. 
In the sixth heaven (^Take-ji7Mi-Teri)^ the 
powers obtained in the fifth heaven are further 
developed ; and the subjective pleasures trans- 
muted into objective can be presented to others, 
or shared with others, — like material gifts. 
But the look of an instant, — one glance of 
the eye, — may generate a new Karma. 

The Yoku-Kai are all heavens of sensuous 
life, — heavens such as might answer to the 
dreams of artists and lovers and poets. But 




246 NIRVANA 

those who are able to traverse them without 
falling — (and a fall, be it observed, is not 
difficult) — pass into the Suj)ersensual Zone, 
first entering the Heavens of Luminous Ob- 
servation of Existence and of Calm Medita- 
tion upon Existence ( Ujin-ushi-shoryo, or JTah- 
Jcwan). These are in number three, — each 
higher than the preceding, — and are named 
The Heaven of Sanctity, The Heaven of 
Higher Sanctity, and The Heaven of Great 
Sanctity. After these come the heavens called 
the Heavens of Luminous Observation of Non- 
Existence and of Calm Meditation upon Non- 
Existence (^JMujin-'niushi-shdryo^. These also 
are three ; and the names of them in their 
order signify. Lesser Light, Light Unfathom- 
able, and Light Making Sound, or, Light-So- 
norous. Here there is attained the highest 
degree of supersensuous joy possible to tem- 
porary conditions. Above are the states named 
Hihi-shoryo^ or the Heavens of the Medita- 
tion of the Abandonment of Joy. The names 
of these states in their ascending order are, 
Lesser Purity, Purity Unfathomable, and Pu- 
rity Supreme. In them neither joy nor pain, 
nor forceful feeling of any sort exist : there is 



NIRVANA 247 

a mild negative pleasure only, — tlie pleasure 
of heavenly Equanimity.^ Higher than these 
heavens are the eight spheres of Calm Medi- 
tation upon the Abandonment of all Joy and 
Pleasure (^Rihi-rahu-shdryo). They are called 
The Cloudless, Holiness-Manifest, Vast Re- 
sults, Empty of Name, Void of Heat, Fair- 
Appearing, Vision-Perfecting, and The Limit 
of Form. Herein pleasure and pain, and name 
and form, pass utterly away. But there re- 
main ideas and thoughts. 

He who can pass through these supersen- 
sual realms enters at once into the JfusJiiki- 
Kai^ — the spheres of Formlessness. These Jj] 

are four. In the first state of the Mushiki- 
Kai, all sense of individuality is lost: even 
the thought of name and form becomes ex- 
tinct, and there survives only the idea of 
Infinite Space, or Emj)tiness. In the second 

1 One is reminded by this conception of Mr. Spencer's 
beautiful definition of Equanimity : — " Equanimity may be 
compared to white light, which, though composed of numer- 
ous colors, is colorless ; while pleasurable and painful moods 
of mind may be compared to the modifications of light that 
result from increasing the proportions of some rays, and 
decreasing the proportions of others." — Principles of Psy- 
chology. 



t 



248 NIRVANA 

state of tlie Mushiki-Kai, this idea of space 
vanishes ; and its place is filled by the Idea of 
Infinite Reason. But this idea of reason is 
anthropomorphic : it is an illusion ; and it 
fades out in the third state of the Mushiki- 
Kai, which is called the " State-of-Nothing-to- 
take-hold-of," or 3Iu-sJio-u-shd-jd, Here is 
only the Idea of Infinite Nothingness. But 
even this condition has been reached by the 
aid of the action of the personal iliind. This 
action ceases : then the fourth state of the 
Mushiki-Kai is reached, — the Hisd-hihisd- 
sho, or the state of " neither-namelessness- 
nor-not-namelessness." Something of personal 
mentality continues to float vaguely here, — 
the very uttermost expiring vibration of 
Karma, — the last vanishing haze of being. 
It melts ; — and the immeasurable revelation 
comes. The dreaming Buddha, freed from the 
last ghostly bond of Self, rises at once into 
the " infinite bliss " of Nirvana.^ 

But every being does not pass through all 
the states above enumerated: the power to 

^ The expression " infinite bliss " as synonymous with Nir- 
vana is taken from the Questions of King Milinda, 



NIRVANA 249 

rise swiftly or slowly depends upon the acqui- 
sition of merit as well as upon the character 
of the Karma to be overcome. Some beings 
pass to Nirvana immediately after the pres- 
ent life ; some after a single new birth ; some 
after two or three births ; while many rise 
directly from this world into one of the Su- 
persensuous Heavens. All such are called 
!^ CVio, — the Leapers, — of whom the highest 
class reach Nirvana at once after their death, 
as men or women. There are two great divi- 
sions of Cho, — the Fu-KwaUy or Never- 
Returning-Ones,^ and the Kwan^ Eeturning 
Ones, or revenants. Sometimes the return 
may be in the nature of a prolonged retro- 
gression ; and, according to a Buddhist legend 
of the origin of the world, the first men were 
beings who had fallen from the Kwd-on-TeUy 
or Heaven of Sonorous Light. A remarkable 
fact about the whole theory of progression 
is that the progression is not conceived of 

^ In the Sutra of the Great Decease we find the instance 
of a woman reaching this condition : — " The Sister Nanda, 
O Ananda, by the destruction of the five bonds that bind 
people to this world, has become an inhabitant of the high- 
est heaven, — there to pass entirely away, — thence never 
to return." 




250 NIRVANA 

(except in very rare cases) as an advance in 
straight lines, but as an advance by undula- 
tions, — a psychical rhythm of motion. This 
is exemplified by the curious Buddhist classi- 
fication of the different short courses by which 
the Kwan or revenants may hope to reach 
Nirvana. These short courses are divided 
into Even and Uneven ; — the former includes 
an equal number of heavenly and of earthly 
rebirths ; while in the latter class the heavenly 
and the earthly intermediate rebirths are not 
equal in number. There are four kinds of 
these intermediate stages. A Japanese friend 
has drawn for me the accompanying diagrams, 
which explain the subject clearly. 

Fantastic this may be called; but it har- 
monizes with the truth that all progress is 
necessarily rhythmical. 

Though all beings do not pass through 
every stage of the great journey, all beings 
who attain to the highest enlightenment, by 
any course whatever, acquire certain faculties 
not belonging to particular conditions of birth, 
but only to particular conditions of psychical 
development. These are, the Hohu-Jindzu 



NIRVAMA ftCA,CMED FROM TMB 
MEAVENS ThftOU&H a EVEN 
ftlRTHS :- 



-TKROUCn S UNeVEN aiRTkS: 



.H^ 



'/ 






A. 



r 



OTHER 
THAN 
-MAN 



I 



\ 



I 



— I — 

MAN' 



NIRVANA REACHED FROM THE 



-THROUGH 3 UNEVEN SlRTHS;- 



STATE OF MAN THROUGH 3 
EVEN BIRTHS :- 


- / ^ 




-TIEAVENJ 
1 




'ft 


HEAVENS 

• 


1 2 


3 


f 

1 





• , • • • I • 

^ y \l \! 






i 



1— 



jaAA 



V V 



V V \ 



'A 



MIRVAWA REACHED FROM THE 
HEAVENS THROUGH 2 EV£M 
BIRTHS:- 



-THROUCn 2 UfiEVEM BIRTHS: 



HEAVENS 



mR\#vN% 



^ _o^^^' 



/- 




/\ 



AM 



HtAVENS 
I 



,/ 



\ 



/ 



"fa*** 



MIRVANA REACHED FROM THE 
STATE OF MAM THROUGH Z 
EVEM BIRTHS l- 



HCAVENS 
' 



-TMROUCM lUPlCVEN 61llTnS> 



" JT ^ 



/ 



/ 



MEAVENS 

' 



/ /u 



'tAfi'H 



tAAH 



NIRVANA 253 

(Abliidjna), or Six Supernatural Powers : ^ — 
(1) Shin-Kyo-Tsu^ the power of passing any- 
whither through any obstacles, — through 
solid walls, for example ; — (2) Tengen-Tsu^ 
the power of infinite vision ; — (3) Tenni- 
Tsu^ the power of infinite hearing ; — (4) 
TasJiin - Tsii^ the power of knowing the 
thoughts of all other beings ; — (5) Shuku- 
ju-Tsu, the power of remembering former 
births ; — (6) Hojin - Tsu, infinite wisdom 
with the power of entering at will into Nir- 
vana, The Roku-jindzu first begin to develop 
in the state of SJtdmon (Sravaka), and ex- 
pand in the higher conditions of Engalzu 
(Pratyeka-Buddha) and of Bosatsu (Bodhi- 
sattva or Mahasattva). The powers of the 
Shomon may be exerted over two thousand 
worlds ; those of the Engaku or Bosatsu, over 
three thousand ; — but the powers of Buddha- 
hood extend over the total cosmos. In the 

1 Different Buddhist systems give different enumerations 
of these 'mysterious powers whereof the Chinese names liter- 
ally signify : — (1) Calm - Meditation-outward-pouiing-no- 
obstaele-wisdom ; — (2) Heaven-Eye-uo-ohstacle- wisdom °, 
•^ (3) Heaven Ear-no-obstaele-wisdom ; — (4) Other-minds- 
no-obstacle-wisdom ; — (5) Former-States-no-obstftcie-H is>» 
dom ; — (G) Leuk-Extiuction-no-obstacle-wisdom. 



254 NIRVANA 

first state of holiness, for example, comes the 
memory of a certain number of former births, 
together with the capacity to foresee a corre- 
sponding number of future births ; — in the 
next higher state the number of births remem- 
bered increases ; — and in the state of Bosatsu 
all former births are visible to memory. But 
the Buddha sees not only all of his own for- 
mer births, but likewise all births that ever 
have been or can be, — and all the thoughts 
and acts, past, present, or future, of all past, 
present, or future beings. . . . Now these 
dreams of supernatural power merit attention 
because of the ethical teaching in regard to 
them, — the same which is woven through 
every Buddhist hypothesis, rational or un- 
thinkable, — the teaching of self-abnegation. 
The Supernatural Powers must never be used 
lor personal pleasure, but only for the highest 
beneficence, — the propagation of doctrine, the 
saving of men. Any exercise of them for 
lesser ends might result in their loss, — would 
certainly signify retrogression in the path.^ 

1 Being's who have reached the state of Engaku or of 
;^osatsu are not supposed capable of retrogression, or of any 
serious error j but it is otherwise in lower spiritual states. 



NIRVANA 255 

To show them for the purpose of exciting 
admiration or wonder were to juggle wick- 
edly with what is divine ; and the Teacher 
himself is recorded to have once severely 
rebuked a needless display of them by a dis- 
ciple.^ 

This giving up not only of one life, but 
of countless lives, — not only of one world, 
but of innumerable worlds, — not only of 
natural but also of supernatural pleasures, — 
not only of selfhood but of godhood, — is cer- 
tainly not for the miserable privilege of 
ceasing to be, but for a privilege infinitely 
outweighing all that even paradise can give. 
Nirvana is no cessation, but an emancipation. 
It means only the passing of conditioned 
being into unconditioned being, — the fading 
of all mental and physical phantoms into the 
light of Formless Omnipotence and Omni- 
science. But the Buddhist hypothesis holds 
some suggestion of the persistence of that 
which has once been able to remember all 
births and states of limited being, — the per- 
sistence of the identity of the Buddhas even 

^ See a curious legend in the Vinaya texts, — Kullavagga, 
V. 8, 2. 



256 NIRVANA 

in Nirvana^ notwithstanding the teaching that 
all Budclhas are one. » How reconcile this 
doctrine of monism with the assurance of va- 
rious texts that the being who enters Nirvana 
can, when so desirous, reassume an earthly 
personality? There are some very remark- 
able texts on this subject in the Sutra of the 
Lotos of the Good Law: those for instance 
in which the Tathagata Prabhutaratna is pic- 
tured as sitting ^'perfectly extinct upon his 
throne,'" and speaking before a vast assembly 
to which he has been introduced as " the 
great Seer who, although perfectly extinct for 
many Icbtis of ceons, now comes to hear the 
Law." These texts themselves offer us the 
riddle of multiplicity in unity ; for the Tatha- 
gata Prabhutaratna and the myriads of other 
extinct Buddhas who appear simultaneously, 
are said to have been all incarnations of but 
a single Buddha. 

A reconciliation is offered by the hypothesis 
of what might be called a pluristic inonism, — 
a sole reality composed of groups of conscious- 
ness, at once independent and yet interde- 
pendent, — or, to speak of pure mind in terms 
of matter, an atomic spiritual ultimate. This 



NIRVANA 257 

hypothesis, though not doctrinably enunciated 
in Buddhist texts, is distinctly implied both 
by text and commentary. The Absolute of 
Buddhism is one as ether is one. Ether is 
conceivable only as a composition of units.^ 

^ This position, it will be observed, is very dissimilar 
from that of Hartmann, who holds that ' ' all plurality of 
individuation belongs to the sphere of phenomenality." 
(vol. ii. page 233 of English translation.) One is rather 
reminded of the thought of Galton that human beings " may 
contribute more or less unconsciously to the manifestation 
of a far higher life than our own, — somewhat as the indi- 
vidual cells of one of the more complex animals contribute 
to the manifestation of its higher order of personality." 
{Hereditary Genius, p. 361.) Another thought of Gal- 
ton's, expressed on the same page of the work just quoted 
from, is stiU. more strongly suggestive of the Buddhist 
concept : — " We must not permit ourselves to consider 
each human or other personality as something supernatu- 
rally added to the stock of nature, but rather as a segrega- 
tion of what already existed, under a new shape, and as a 
regular consequence of previous conditions. . . . Neither 
must we be misled by the word 'individuality.' . . . We 
may look upon each individual as something not wholly 
detached from its parent-source, — as a wave that has been 
lifted and shaped by normal conditions in an unknown and 
illimitable ocean." 

The reader should remember that the Buddhist hypothesis 
does not imply either individuality or personality in Nirvana, 
but simple entity, — not a spiritual body, in our meaning of 
the terra, but only a divine consciousness. " Heart," in the 



258 NIRVANA 

The Absolute is conceivable only (according 
to any attempt at a synthesis of the Japanese 
doctrines) as composed of Buddhas. But 
here the student finds himseK voyaging far- 
ther, perhaps, beyond the bar of the thinkable 
than Western philosophers have ever ventured. 
All are One ; — each by union becomes equal 
with All ! We are not only bidden to imagine 
the ultimate reality as composed of units of 
conscious being, — but to believe each unit 

sense of divine mind, is a term used in some Japanese texts 
to describe such entity. In the Dai-Nichi Kyo So (Com- 
mentary on the Dai-Nichi Sutra), for example, is the state- 
ment : — " When all seeds of Karma-life are entirely burnt 
out and annihilated, then the vacuum-pure Bodhi-heart is 
reached." (I may observe that Buddhist metaphysicians 
use the term " vacuum-bodies " to describe one of the high 
conditions of entity.) The following-, from the fifty-first vol- 
ume of the work called Daizo-ho-su will also be found inter- 
esting : — " By experience the Tathagata possesses all forms, 
— forms for multitude numberless as the dust-grains of the 
universe. . . . The Tathagata gets himself born in such 
places as he desires, or in accord with the desire of others, 
and there saves [lit., * carries over ' — that is, over the Sea 
of Birth and Death] all sentient beings. Wheresoever his 
will finds an abiding-point, there is he embodied : this is 
called Will-Birth Body. . . . The Buddha makes Law his 
body, and remains pure as empty space : this is called Law- 
Body." 



NIRVANA 259 

permanently equal to every other and i?ifinite 
in poteJitiality} The central reality of every 
living creature is a pure Buddha : the visible 
form and thinking self, which encell it, being 
but Karma. With some degree of truth it 
might be said that Buddhism substitutes for 
our theory of a universe of physical atoms the 
hypothesis of a universe of psychical units. 
Not that it necessarily denies our theory of 
physical atoms, but that it assumes a position 
which might be thus expressed in words : 
" What you call atoms are really combina- 
tions, unstable aggregates, essentially imper- 
manent, and therefore essentially unreal. 
Atoms are but Karma." And this position 
is suggestive. We know nothing whatever of 
<^^ the ultimate nature of substance and motion : 
but we have scientific evidence that the known 
has been evolved from the unknown ; that the 
atoms of our elements are combinations ; and 
that what we call matter and force are but dif- 
ferent manifestations of a single and infinite 
Unknown Reality. 

1 Half of this Buddhist thought is really embodied in 
Tennyson's line, — 
•' Boundless inward, in the atom ; boundleas outward, in the Whole." 



260 NIRVANA 

The^f e are wonderful Buddhist pictures which 
at first sight appear to have been made, like 
other Japanese pictures, with bold free sweeps 
of a skilled brush, but which, when closely ex- 
amined, prove to have been executed in a much 
more marvelous manner. The figures, the fea- 
tures, the robes, the aureoles, — also the scen- 
ery, the colors, the effects of mist or cloud, — all, 
even to the tiniest detail of tone or line, have 
been produced by groupings of microscopic 
Chinese characters, — tinted according to posi- 
tion, and more or less thickly massed accord- 
ing to need of light or shade. In brief, these 
pictures are composed entirely out of texts of 
Sutras : they are mosaics of minute ideographs, 
— each ideograph a combination of strokes, 
and the symbol at once of a sound and of an 
idea. 

I Is our universe so composed ? — an endless 
phantasmagory made only by combinations 
of combinations of combinations of combina- 
tions of units finding quality and form through 
unimaginable affinities ; — now thickly massed 
in solid glooms ; now palpitating in tremulosi- 
I ties of light and color ; always and everywhere 
' grouped by some stupendous art into one vast 



NIRVANA 261 

r mosaic of polarities ; — yet each unit in itself 
I a complexity inconceivable, and each in itself 
also a symbol only, a character, a single ideo- 
graph of the undecipherable text of the Infi- 
nite Riddle? . . . Ask the chemists and the 
mathematicians. 



..." All being's that have life shall lay 
Aside their complex form, — that aggregation 
Of mental and material qualities 
That gives them, or in heaven or on earth, 
Their fleeting individuality." 

The Book of the Great Decease. 

In every teleological system there are con- 
ceptions which cannot bear the test of modern 
psychological analysis, and in the foregoing 
unfilled outline of a great religious hypo- 
thesis there will doubtless be recognized some 
"ghosts of beliefs haunting those mazes of 
verbal propositions in which metaphysicians 
habitually lose themselves." But truths will 
be perceived also, — grand recognitions of the 
law of ethical evolution, of the price of pro- 
gress, and of our relation to the changeless 
Reality abiding beyond all change. 



262 NIRVANA 

The Buddhist estimate of the enormity of 
that opposition to moral progress which hu- 
manity must overcome is fully sustained by 
our scientific knowledge of the past and per- 
ception of the future. Mental and moral 
advance has thus far been effected only 
through constant struggle against inheritances 
older than reason or moral feeling, — against 
the instincts and the appetites of primitive 
brute life. And the Buddhist teaching, that 
the average man can hope to leave his worse 
nature behind him only after the lapse of mil- 
lions of future lives, is much more of a truth 
than of a theory. Only through millions of 
births have we been able to reach even this 
our present imperfect state ; and the dark 
bequests of our darkest past are still strong 
enough betimes to prevail over reason and 
ethical feeling. Every future forward pace 
upon the moral path will have to be taken 
against the massed effort of millions of ghostly 
wills. For those past selves which priest and 
poet have told us to use as steps to' higher 
things are not dead, nor even likely to die 
for a thousand generations to come : tliey are 
too much alive ; — they have still power to 



NIRVANA 263 

clutch the climbing feet, — sometimes even 
to fling back the climber into the primeval 
slime. 

Again, in its legend of the Heavens of Dt 
sire, — progress through which depends upo 
the ability of triumphant virtue to refusi 
what it has won, — Buddhism gives us a won- 
der-story full of evolutional truth. The diffi- 
culties of moral self -elevation do not disaj^pear 
with the amelioration of material social con- 
ditions ; — in our own day they rather in- 
crease. As life becomes more complex, more 
multiform, so likewise do the obstacles to ethi- 
cal advance, — so likewise do the results of 
thoughts and acts. The expansion of intel- 
lectual power, the refinement of sensibility, 
the enlargement of the sympathies, the in- 
tensive quickening of the sense of beauty, — 
all multiply ethical dangers just as certainly 
as they multiply ethical opportunities. The 
highest material results of civilization, and the 
increase of possibilities of pleasure, exact an 
exercise of self-mastery and a power of ethical 
balance, needless and impossible in older and 
lower states of existence. 

The Buddhist doctrine of impermanency is 



264 NIRVANA 

the doctrine also of modern science : either 
might be uttered in the words of the other. 
" Natural knowledge," wrote Huxley in one 
of his latest and finest essaj's, "tends more 
and more to the conclusion that ' all the choir 
of heaven and furniture of the earth' are 
the transitory forms of parcels of cosmic sub- 
tance wending along the road of evolution 
from nebulous potentiality, — through endless 
growths of sun and planet and satellite, — 
through all varieties of matter, — through in- 
finite diversities of life and thought, — pos- 
sibly through modes of being of which we 
neither have a conception nor are competent 
to form any, — back to the indefinable latency 
from which they arose. Thus the most obvi- 
ous attribute of the Cosmos is its imper- 
manency." ^ 

And, finally, it may be said that Buddhism 
not only presents remarkable accordance with 
nineteenth century thought in regard to the 
instability of all integrations, the ethical sig- 
nification of heredity, the lesson of mental 
evolution, the duty of moral progress, but it 
also agrees with science in repudiating equally' 
^ Evolution and Ethics. 



NIRVANA 265 

our doctrines of materialism and of spiritual- 
ism, our theory of a Creator and of special 
creation, and our belief in the immortality of 
the soul. Yet, in spite of this repudiation 
of the very foundations of Occidental religion, 
it has been able to give us the revelation of 
larger religious possibilities, — the suggestions 
of a universal scientific creed nobler than any 
which has ever existed. Precisely in that 
period of our own intellectual evolution when 
faith in a personal God is passing away, — 
when the belief in an individual soul is be- 
coming impossible, — when the most religious 
minds shrink from everything that we have 
been calling religion, — when the universal 
doubt is an ever-growing weight upon ethical 
aspiration, — light is offered from the East. 
There we find ourselves in presence of an 
older and a vaster faith, — holding no gross 
anthropomorphic conceptions of the immeas- 
urable Reality, and denying tlie existence of 
soul, but nevertheless inculcating a s^^stem of 
morals superior to any other, and maintaining 
a hope which no possible future form of posi- 
tive knowledge can destroy. Reinforced by 
the teaching of science, the teaching of this 



266 NIRVANA 

more ancient faith is that for thousands oi 
years we have been thinking inside-out and 
upside-down. The only reality is One ; — all 
that we have taken for Substance is only 
Shadow ; — the physical is the unreal ; — and 
the outer-man is the ghosU 



X 

THE REBIRTH OF KATSUG0R5 



The following is not a story, — at least it is 
not one of my stories. It is only tlie transla- 
tion of an old Japanese document — or rather 
series of documents — very much signed and 
sealed, and dating back to the early part of 
the present century. Various authors appear 
to have made use of these documents : espe- 
cially the compiler of the curious collection 
of Buddhist stories entitled Bukkyo-hyakkwa- 
zensho, to whom they furnished the material 
of the twenty-sixth narrative in that work. 
The present translation, however, was made 
from a manuscript copy discovered in a pri- 
vate library in Tokyo. I am responsible for 
nothing beyond a few notes appended to the 
text. 

Although the beginning will probably prove 
dry reading, I presume to advise the perusal 



268 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

of the whole translation from first to last, 
because it suggests many things besides the 
possibility of remembering former births. It 
will be found to reflect something of the feu- 
dal Japan passed away, and something of the 
old-time faith, — not the higher Buddhism, but 
what is incomparably more difficult for any 
Occidental to obtain a glimpse of : the com- 
mon ideas of the people concerning preexist- 
ence and rebirth. And in view of this fact, 
the exactness of the official investigations, and 
the credibility of the evidence accepted, neces- 
sarily become questions of minor importance. 



II 

1. — Copy of the Report of Tamon Dempa- 

CHIRO. 

The case of ICatsugoro^ nine years old^ second 
son of Genzo^ a farmer on my estate^ 
dwelling in the Village called Nahano- 
mura in the District called Tamagori in 
the Province of Musashi. 

Some time during the autumn of last year, 
the above-mentioned Katsugoro, the son of 
Genzo, told to his elder sister the story of his 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 269 

previous existence and of his rebirth. But as 
it seemed to be only the fancy of a child, she 
gave little heed to it. Afterwards, however, 
when Katsugoro had told her the same story 
over and over again, she began to think that 
it was a strange thing, and she told her parents 
about it. 

During the twelfth month of the past year, 
Genzo himself questioned Katsugoro about 
the matter, whereupon Katsugoro declared, — 

That he had been in his former existence 
the son of a certain Kyubei, a farmer of 
Hodokubo-mura, which is a village within the 
jurisdiction of the Lord Komiya, in the dis- 
trict called Tamagori, in the province of 
Musashi ; — 

That he, Katsugoro, the son of Kyiibei, had 
died of smallpox at the age of six years, — 
and 

That he had been reborn thereafter into the 
family of the Genzo before-mentioned. 

Though this seemed unbelievable, the boy 
repeated all the circumstances of his story 
with so much exactness and apparent cer- 
tainty, that the Headman and the elders of 
the village made a formal investigation of the 



270 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

case. As the news of this event soon spread, 
it was heard by the family of a certain Han- 
shiro, living in the village called Hodokubo- 
mura; and Hanshiro then came to the house 
of the Genzo aforesaid, a farmer belonging to 
my estate, and found that everything was true 
which the boy had said about the personal ap- 
pearance and the facial characteristics of his 
former parents, and about the aspect of the 
house which had been his home in his previous 
birth. Katsugoro was then taken to the house 
of Hanshiro in Hodokubo-mura ; and the peo- 
ple there said that he looked very much like 
their Tozo, who had died a number of years 
before, at the age of six. Since then the two 
families have been visiting each other at inter- 
vals. The people of other neighboring vil- 
lages seem to have heard of the matter ; and 
now persons come daily from various places to 
see Katsugoro. 

A deposition regarding the above facts hav- 
ing been made before me by persons dwelling 
on my estate, I summoned the man Genzo to 
my house, and there examined him. His an- 
swers to my questions did not contradict the 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 271 

statements before-mentioned made by other 
parties. 

Occasionally in the world some rumor of 
such a matter as this spreads among the peo- 
ple. Indeed, it is hard to believe such things. 
But I beg to make report of the present case, 
hoping the same will reach your august ear, — 
so that I may not be charged with negligence. 
[Signed] Tamon Dempachiro. 

The Fourth Month and the Sixth Year of Bunsei [1823]. 

2. — Copy of Letter written by Kazunawo to 
Teikin, Priest of Sengakuji. 

I have been favored with the accompanying 
copy of the report of Tamon Dempachiro by 
Shiga Hyoemon Sama, who brought it to me ; 
and I take great pleasure in sending it to you. 
I think that it might be well for you to pre- 
serve it, together with the writing from Kwan- 
zan Sama, which you kindly showed me the 
other day. 

[Signed] Kazunawo. 

The twenty-Jirst day of the Sixth Month. [No other date.] 



272 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

3. — Copy of the Letter of Matsudaira Kwan« 
ZAN" [Daimyo] to the Priest Teikin op 
the Temple called Sengakuji. 

I herewith enclose and send you the account 
of the rebirth of Katsugoro. I have written 
it in the popular style, thinking that it might 
have a good effect in helping to silence 
those who do not believe in the doctrines of 
the Buddha. As a literary work it is, of 
course, a wretched thing. I send it to you 
supposing that it could only amuse you from 
that point of view. But as for the relation 
itself, it is without mistake ; for I myself heard 
it from the grandmother of Katsugoro. When 
you have read it, please return it to me. 

[Signed] Kwanzan. 

Twentieth day. [No date.] 

[Copy.] 
Relation of the Rebirth of KatsugorQ. 

4. — {Introductory Note by the Priest Teikin.') 

This is the account of a true fact ; for it has 
been written by Matsudaira Kwanzan Sanaa, who 
himself went [to Nakano-mura] on the twenty- 
second day of the third month of this year for the 
special purpose of inquiring about the matter. 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 273 

After having obtained a glimpse of Katsugoro, he 
questioned the boy's grandmother as to every par- 
ticular; and he wrote down her answers exactly as 
they were given. 

Afterwards, the said Kwanzan Sama conde- 
scended to honor this temple with a visit on the 
fourteenth day of this fourth month, and with his 
own august lips told me about his visit to the fam- 
ily of the aforesaid Katsugoro. Furthermore, he 
vouchsafed me the favor of permitting me to read 
the before-mentioned writing, on the twentieth day 
of this same month. And, availing myself of the 
privilege, I immediately made a copy of the writing. 
[Signed] Teikin SO ^""Am.'"' 

han, or private 
Spno-akn-il sign-manual, 

brush. 

The twenty-first day of the Fourth Month of the Sixth Year 

ofBunsei [1823]. 

[Copy.] 

5. — [Names of the IMembers of the two Fam- 
ilies CONCERNED.] 

\_Family of Genzo.'] 

Katsugoro. — Born the 10th day of the 
10th month of the twelfth year of Bunkwa 
[1815]. Nine years old this sixth year of 



274 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

Bunsei [1823] .^ Second son of Grenzo, a 
farmer living in Tanitsuiri in Nakano-mura, 
district of Tamagori, province of Musashi. — 9 

Estate of Tamon Dempachiro, whose yashiki 
is in the street called Shichikencho, Nedzu, 
Yedo. — Jurisdiction of Yusuki. 

Genzo. — Father of Katsugoro. Family 
name, Koyada. Forty-nine years old this 
sixth year of Bunsei. Being poor, he occu- 
pies himself with the making of baskets, which 
he sells in Yedo. The name of the inn at 
which he lodges while in Yedo is Sagamiya, 
kept by one Kihei, in Bakuro-cho. 

Sei. — Wife of Genzo and mother of Ka- 
tsugoro. Thirty-nine years old this sixth year 
of Bunsei. Daughter of Murata Kichitaro, 
samurai, — once an archer in the service of 
the Lord of Owari. When Sei was twelve 
years old she was a maid-servant, it is said, in 
the house of Honda Dainoshin Dono. When 
she was thirteen years old, her father, Kichi- 

^ The Western reader is requested to bear in mind that 
the year in which a Japanese child is bom is counted al- 
ways as one year in the reckoning of age. 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 275 

taro was dismissed forever for a certain cause 
from the service of the Lord of Owari, and 
he became a ronin.^ He died at the asfe of 
seventy-five, on the twenty-fifth day of the 
fourth month of the fourth year of Bunkwa 
[1807]. His grave is in the cemetery of the 
temple called Eirin-ji, of the Zen sect, in the 
village of Shimo-Yusuki. 

TsuYA. — Grandmother of Katsugoro. Sev- 
enty-two years old this sixth year of Bunsei. 
When young she served as maid in the house- 
hold of Matsudaira Oki-no-Kami Dono [Dai. 
myo\, 

FusA. — Elder sister of Katsugoro, Fif- 
teen years old this year. 

Otojiro. — Elder brother of Katsugoro. 
Fourteen years old this year. 

TsuNE. — Younger sister of Katsugoro. Four 
years old this year. 

'■ Lit. : " A wave-man," — a ■wandering' samurai without a 
lord. The ronin were generally a desperate and very dan- 
gerous class; but there were some £ue characters among 
them. 



276 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

[Family of Hanshiro.'] 

Tozo. — Died at the age of six in Hodo- 
kubo-mura, in the district called Tamagori in 
the province of Musashi. Estate of Nakane 
Uyemon, whose yashiki is in the street Ata- 
rashi-bashi-d5ri, Shitaya, Yedo. Jurisdiction 
of Komiya. — [Tozo] was born in the second 
year of Bunkwa [1805], and died at about the 
fourth hour of the day [10 o'clock in the morn- 
ing~\ on the fourth day of the second month of 
the seventh year of Bunkwa [1810]. The 
sickness of which he died was smallpox. Bur- 
ied in the graveyard on the hill above the 
village before-mentioned, — Hodokubo-mura. 
• — Parochial temple : Iwoji in Misawa-mura. 
Sect : Zen-shii. Last year the fifth year of 
Bunkwa [1822], t\\QJiu-san kwaiki ^ was said 
for Tozo. 

Hanshiro. — Stepfather of Tozo. Family 

1 The Buddhist services for the dead are celebrated at 
regular intervals, increasing successively in length, until the 
time of one hundred years after death. The jiu-san kwaiki 
is the service for the thirteenth year after death. By 
" thirteenth " in the context the reader must understand that 
the year in which the death took place is counted for one 
year. 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 277 

name : Suzaki. Fifty years old this sixth 
year of Bunsei. 

Shidzu. — Mother of Tozo. Forty-nine 
years old this sixth year of Bunsei. 

Kyubei (afterwards ToGORo). — Real fa- 
ther of Tozo. Original name, Kyubei, after- 
wards changed to Togoro. Died at the age of 
forty-eight, in the sixth year of Bunkwa [1809], 
when Tozo was five years old. To replace 
him, Hanshiro became an iri-muho?- 

Children : Two boys and two girls. — 
These are Hanshiro's children by the mother 
of Tozo. 

6. — [Copy of the Account written in Pop- 
ular Style by Matsudaira Kwanzan 
DoNO, DaimyO.] 

Some time in the eleventh month of the past 
year, when Katsugoro was playing in the rice- 
field with his elder sister, Fusa, he asked 
her, — 

1 The second husband, by adoption, of a daughter who 
lives with her own parents. 



278 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

" Elder Sister, where did you come from 
before you were born into our household ? " 

Fusa answered him : — 

" How can I know what happened to me 
before I was born ? " 

Katsugoro looked surprised and exclaimed : 

" Then you cannot remember anything that 
happened before you were born ? " 

" Do you remember ? " asked Fusa. 

" Indeed I do," replied Katsugoro. " I 
used to be the son of Kyubei San of Hodo- 
kubo, and my name was then Tozo — do you 
not know all that ? " 

" Ah ! " said Fusa, " I shall tell father and 
mother about it." 

But Katsugoro at once began to cry, and 
said : — 

" Please do not tell ! — it would not be good 
to tell father and mother." 

Fusa made answer, after a little while : — 

" Well, this time I shall not tell. But the 
next time that you do anything naughty, then 
I will tell." 

After that day whenever a dispute arose 
between the two, the sister would threaten the 
brother, saying, " Very well, then — I shall 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 279 

tell that thing to father and mother." At 
these words the boy would always yield to his 
sister. This happened many times ; and the 
parents one day overheard Fusa making her 
threat. Thinking Katsugoro must have been 
doing something wrong, they desired to know 
what the matter was, and Fusa, being ques- 
tioned, told them the truth. Then Genzo and 
his wife, and Tsuya, the grandmother of Ka- 
tsugoro, thought it a very strange thing. They 
called Katsugoro, therefore ; and tried, first 
by coaxing, and then by threatening, to make 
him tell what he had meant by those words. 

After hesitation, Katsugoro said : — "I 
will tell you everything. I used to be the 
son of Kyubei San of Hodokubo, and the 
name of my mother then was 0-Shidzu San. 
When I was five years old, Kyubei San died ; 
and there came in his place a man called 
Hanshiro San, who loved me very much. But 
in the following year, when I was six years 
old, I died of smallpox. In the third year 
after that I entered mother's honorable womb, 
and was born again." 

The parents and the grandmother of the 
boy wondered greatly at hearing this ; and 



280 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

they decided to make all possible inquiry as 
to the man called Hanshiro of Hodokubo. 
But as they all had to work very hard every 
day to earn a living, and so could spare but 
little time for any other matter, they could not 
at once carry out their intention. 

Now Sei, the mother of Katsugoro, had 
nightly to suckle her little daughter Tsune, 
who was four years old ; ^ — and Katsugoro 
therefore slept with his grandmother, Tsuya. 
Sometimes he used to talk to her in bed ; and 
one night when he was in a very confiding 
mood, she persuaded him to tell her what hap- 
pened at the time when he had died. Then he 
said : — " Until I was four years old I used to 
remember everything; but since then I have 
become more and more forgetful ; and now I 
forget many, many things. But I still re- 
member that I died of smallpox ; I remember 
that I was put into a jar ; ^ I remember that 

^ Children in Japan, among the poorer classes, are not 
weaned until an age much later than what is considered the 
proper age for weaning children in Western countries. But 
" four years old " in this text may mean considerahly less, 
than three by Western reckoning. 

2 From very ancient time in Japan it has been the custom 
to bury th« dead in large jars, — usually of red earthenware, 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 281 

I was burled on a hill. There was a hole 
made in the ground ; and the people let the 
jar drop into that hole. It fell i^on ! — I re- 
member that sound well. Then somehow I 
returned to the house, and I stopped on my 
own pillow there.^ In a short time some old 
man, — looking like a grandfather — came 
and took me away. I do not know who or 
what he was. As I walked I went through 
empty air as if flying. I remember it was 
neither night nor day as we went : it was al- 
ways like sunset-time. I did not feel either 
warm or cold or hungry. We went very far, 
I think ; but still I could hear always, faintly, 
the voices of people talking at home ; and the 
sound of the JV^emhutsu ^ being said for me. 

— called Kame. Such jars are still used, although a large 
proportion of the dead are buried in wooden coffins of a 
form unknown in the Occident. 

^ The idea expressed is not that of lying down with the 
pillow under the head, but of hovering about the pillow, or 
resting upon it as an insect might do. The bodiless spirit is 
usually said to rest upon the roof of the home. The appa- 
rition of the aged man referred to in the next sentence seems 
a thought of Shinto rather than of Buddhism. 

2 The repetition of the Buddhist invocation Namu Amida 
Butsu ! is thus named. The nenihutsu is repeated by many 
Buddhist sects besides the sect of Amida proper, — the 
Shiushil. 



282 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

I remember also tliat when the people at home 
set offerings of hot hotamochi ^ before the 
household shrine [hutsuda7i], I inhaled the 
vapor of the offerings. . . . Grandmother, 
never forget to offer warm food to the honor- 
able dead [HotoM Sama]^ and do not forget 
to give to priests — I am sure it is very good 
to do these things.^ . . . After that, I only 
remember that the old man led me by some 
roundabout way to this place — I remember 
we passed the road beyond the village. Then 
we came here, and he pointed to this house, 
and said to me : — ' Now you must be reborn, 
— for it is three years since you died. You 
are to be reborn in that house. The person 
who will become your grandmother is very 
kind; so it will be well for you to be con- 
ceived and born there.' After saying this, 
the old man went away. I remained a little 
time under the kaki-tree before the entrance 
of this house. Then I was going to enter 

1 Botamochi, a kind of sugared rice-cake. 

2 Such advice is a commonplace in Japanese Buddhist lit- 
erature. By HotokS Sama here the hoy means, not the Bud- 
dhas proper, hut the spirits of the dead, hopefully termed 
Buddhas by those who loved them, — much as in the West 
we sometimes speak of our dead as angels." 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 283 

when I heard talking inside : some one said 
that because father was now earning so little, 
mother would have to go to service in Yedo. 
I thought, " I will not go into that house ; " 
and I stopped three days in the garden. On 
the third day it was decided that, after all, 
mother would not have to go to Yedo. The 
same night I passed into the house through a 
knot-hole in the sliding-shutters ; — and after 
that I stayed for three days beside the ka- 
mado} Then I entered mother's honorable 
womb.^ ... I remember that I was born 
without any pain at all. — Grandmother, you 
may tell this to father and mother, but please 
never tell it to anybody else." 

The grandmother told Genzo and his wife 
what Katsugoro had related to her ; and after 
that the boy was not afraid to speak freely 

1 The eooking'-place in a Japanese kitchen. Sometimes 
the word is translated " kitchen-range," but the kamado is 
something yery different from a Western kitchen-range. 

2 Here I think it better to omit a couple of sentences in 
the original rather too plain for Western taste, yet not with- 
out interest. The meaning of the omitted passages is only 
that even in the womb the child acted with consideration, 
and according to the rules of filial piety. 



284 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

with his parents on the subject of his former 
existence, and would often say to them : " I 
want to go to Hodokubo. Please let me 
make a visit to the tomb of Kyiibei San." 
Genzo thought that Katsugoro, being a strange 
child, would probably die before long, and 
that it might therefore be better to make in- 
quiry at once as to whether there really was a 
man in Hodokubo called Hanshiro. But he 
did not wish to make the inquiry himself, be- 
cause for a man to do so [under such circum- 
stances f ] would seem inconsiderate or for- 
ward. Therefore, instead of going himself to 
Hodokubo, he asked his mother Tsuya, on the 
twentieth day of the first month of this year, 
to take her grandson there. 

Tsuya went with Katsugoro to Hodokubo ; 
and when they entered the village she pointed 
to the nearer dwellings, and asked the boy, 
" Which house is it ? — is it this house or that 
one ? " " No," answered Katsugoro, — "it is 
further on — much further," — and he hurried 
before her. Reaching a certain dwelling at 
last, he cried, "This is the house!" — and 
ran in, without waiting for his grandmother. 
Tsuya followed him in, and asked the people 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 285 

there what was the name of the owner of the 
house. " Hanshiro," one of them answered. 
She asked the name of Hanshiro's wife. 
" Shidzu," was the reply. Then she asked 
whether there had ever been a son called 
Tozo born in that house. "Yes," was the 
answer; "but that boy died thirteen years 
ago, when he was six years old." 

Then for the first time Tsuya was convinced 
that Katsugoro had spoken the truth ; and she 
could not help shedding tears. She related 
to the people of the house all that Katsugoro 
had told her about his remembrance of his 
former birth. Then Hanshiro and his wife 
wondered greatly. They caressed Katsugoro 
and wept ; and they remarked that he was 
much handsomer now than he had been as 
Tozo before dying at the age of six. In the 
mean time, Katsugoro was looking all about ; 
and seeing the roof of a tobacco shop opposite 
to the house of Hanshiro, he pointed to it, and 
said : — " That used not to be there." And 
he also said, — " The tree yonder used not to 
be there." All this was true. So from the 
minds of Hanshiro and his wife every doubt 
departed \_ga wo orishi\. 



286 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

On the same day Tsuya and Katsugoro 
returned to Tanitsuiri, Nakano-mura. After- 
wards Genzo sent his son several times to 
Hanshiro's house, and allowed him to visit the 
tomb of Kyiibei his real father in his previous 
existence. 

Sometimes Katsugoro says : — "I am a 
JVonoSama:^ therefore please be kind to 
me." Sometimes he also says to his grand- 
mother : — "I think I shall die when I am 
sixteen ; but, as Ontake Sama ^ has taught us, 

1 Nono-San (or Sama) is the child-word for the Spirits 
of the dead, for the Buddhas, and for the Shinto Gods, — 
Kami. Nono-San wo ogamu, — "to pray to the Nono-San," 
is the child-phrase for praying to the gods. The spirits of 
the ancestors become Nono-San, — Kami, — according to 
Shinto thought. 

2 The reference here to Ontak^ Sama has a particular 
interest, but will need some considerable explanation. 

Ontake, or Mitak^, is the name of a celebrated holy peak 
in the province of Shinano — a great resort for pilgrims. 
During the Tokugawa Shogunate, a priest called Isshin, of 
the Risshii Buddhists, made a pilgrimage to that moun- 
tain. Returning to his native place (Sakamoto-cho, Shitaya, 
Yedo), he began to preach certain new doctrines, and to 
make for himself a reputation as a miracle-worker, by 
virtue of powers said to have been gained during his pil- 
grimage to Ontak^. The Shogunate considered him a dan- 
gerous person, and banished him to the island of Hachijo, 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 287 

dying is not a matter to be afraid of." When 
his parents ask him, " Would you not like 
to become a priest?" he answers, "I would 
rather not be a priest." 

where he remained for some years. Afterwards he was al- 
lowed to return to Yedo, and there to preach his new faith, 
— to which he gave the name of Azuma-Kyo. It was Bud- 
dhist teaching in a Shinto disguise, — the deities especially 
adored by its followers being Okuni-nushi and Sukuna-lii- 
kona as Buddhist avatars. In the prayer of the sect called 
Kaibyaku-Norito it is said : — " The divine nature is im- 
movable (fudo) ; yet it moves. It is formless, yet mani- 
fests itself in forms. This is the Incomprehensible Divine 
Body. In Heaven and Earth it is called Kami ; in all 
things it is called Spirit ; in Man it is called Mind. . . . 
From tliis only reality came the heavens, the four oceans, 
the great whole of the three thousand universes ; — from the 
One Mind emanate three thousands of great thousands of 
forms." . . . 

In the eleventh year of Bunkwa (1814) a man called Shi 
<noyama Osuk^, originally an oil-merchant in Heiyeraon- 
cho, Asakusa, Yedo, organized, on the basis of Isshin's 
teaching, a religioiis association named Tomoy^-Ko. It 
flourished until the overthrow of the Shogunate, when a 
law was issued forbidding the teaching of mixed doctrines, 
and the blending of Shinto with Buddhist religion. Shimo- 
yama Osuk^ then applied for permission to establish a new 
Shinto sect, under the name of Mitak^-Kyo, — popularly 
called Ontak^-Kyo ; and the permission was given in the 
sixth year of Meiji [1873]. Osuk^ then remodeled the 
Buddhist sutra Fudo Kyo into a Shinto prayer-book, under 



288 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

The village people do not call him Katsu- 
goro any more ; they have nicknamed him 
" Hodokubo-Kozo " (the Acolyte of Hodo- 
kubo).^ When any one visits the house to 
see him, he becomes shy at once, and runs to 
hide himself in the inner apartments. So it 
is not possible to have any direct conversation 
with him. I have written down this account 
exactly as his grandmother gave it to me. 

I asked whether Genzo, his wife, or Tsuya, 
could any of them remember having done any 

the title, Shinto-Fudo-Norito. The sect still flourishes ; and 
one of its chief temples is situated about a mile from my 
present residence in Tokyo. 

"Ontak^ San" (or "Sama") is a popular name given 
to the deities adored by this sect. It really means the 
Deity dwelling on the peak Mitak^, or Ontak^. But the 
name is also sometimes applied to the high-priest of the 
sect, who is supposed to be oracularly inspired by the deity 
of Ontak^, and to make revelations of truth through the 
power of the divinity. In the mouth of the boy Katsugoro 
*' Ontakd Sama " means the high-priest of that time 
[1823], almost certainly Osuk^ himself, — then chief of the 
Tomoy^-Kyo. 

^ Kozo is the name given to a Buddhist acolyte, or a 
youth studying for the priesthood. But it is also given to 
errand-boys and little boy-servants sometimes, — perhaps 
because in former days the heads of little boys were shaved. 
I think that the meaning in this text is " acolyte." 



THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 289 

virtuous deeds. Genzo and his wife said that 
they had never done anything especially vir- 
tuous; but that Tsuya, the grandmother, had 
always been in the habit of repeating the .Nem- 
butsu every morning and evening, and that 
she never failed to give two mon^ to any 
priest or pilgrim who came to the door. But 
excepting these small matters, she never had 
done anything which could be called a par- 
ticidarly virtuous act. 

( — This is the End of the Relation of the Re- 
birth of Katsugoro.) 

7. — (Note by the Translator.) 
The foregoing is taken from a manuscript 
entitled Chin Setsu Shu Ki ; or, " Manu- 
script-Collection of Uncommon Stories," — 
made between the fourth month of the sixth 
year of Bunsei and the tenth month of the 
sixth year of Tempo [1823-1835]. At the 
end of the manuscript is written, — " From 
the years of Bitnsei to the years of Tempo. — 
Minamisempa, Owner : Kiirumacho^ Shiha, 

^ In that time the name of the smallest of coins = ^o of 
1 cent. It was about the same as that now called rin, a 
copper with a square hole in the middle and bearing Chi- 
nese characters. 



290 THE REBIRTH OF KATSUGORO 

Yedo'^ Under this, again, is the following 
note : — " Bought from Yamatoya Sahujiro 
Wishinokubo : twenty-first day [?] , Second 
Year of Meiji [1869]." From which it would 
appear that the manuscript had been written 
by Minamisempa, who collected stories told 
to him, or copied them from manuscripts ob- 
tained by him, during the thirteen years from 
1823 to 1835, inclusive. 

Ill 

Perhaps somebody will now be unreason- 
able enough to ask whether I believe this story, 
— as if my belief or disbelief had anything to 
do with the matter ! The question of the pos- 
sibility of remembering former births seems 
to me to depend upon the question what it is 
that remembers. If it is the Infinite All-Self 
in each one of us, then I can believe the whole 
of the Jatahas without any trouble. As to 
the False Self, the mere woof and warp of sen- 
sation and desire, then I can best express my 
idea by relating a dream which I once dreamed. 
Whether it was a dream of the night or a 
dream of the day need not concern any one, 
•— since it was only a dream. 



XI 

WITHIN THE CIRCLE 

Neither personal pain nor personal pleas- 
ure can be really expressed in words. It is 
never possible to communicate them in their 
original form. It is only possible, by vivid 
portrayal of the circumstances or conditions 
causing them, to awaken in sympathetic minds 
some kindred qualities of feeling. But if the 
circumstances causing the pain or the pleasure 
be totally foreign to common human experi- 
ence, then no representation of them can make 
fully known the sensations which they evoked. 
Hopeless, therefore, any attempt to tell the 
real pain of seeing my former births. I can 
say only that no combination of suffering pos- 
sible to individual being could be likened to 
such pain, — the pain of countless lives inter- 
woven. It seemed as if every nerve of me 
had been prolonged into some monstrous web 
of sentiency spun back through a million 



292 WITHIN THE CIRCLE 

years, — and as if the whole of that measure- 
less woof and warp, over all its shivering 
threads, were pouring into my consciousness, 
out of the abysmal past, some ghastliness with- 
out name, — some horror too vast for human 
brain to hold. For, as I looked backward, I 
became double, quadruple, octuple ; — I multi- 
plied by arithmetical progression ; — I became 
hundreds and thousands, — and feared with 
the terror of thousands, — and despaired with 
the anguish of thousands, — and shuddered 
with the agony of thousands ; yet knew the 
pleasure of none. All joys, all delights ap- 
peared but mists or mockeries : only the pain 
and the fear were real, — and always, always 
growing. Then in the moment when sentiency 
itself seemed bursting into dissolution, one 
divine touch ended the frightful vision, and 
brought again to me the simple consciousness 
of the single present. Oh ! how unspeakably 
delicious that sudden shrinking back out of 
multiplicity into upity ! — that immense, im- 
measurable collapse of Self into the blind 
oblivious numbness of individuality ! 

" To others also," said the voice of the divine 



WITHIN THE CIRCLE 293 

one who had thus saved me, — "to others in 
the like state it has been permitted to see 
something of their preexistence. But no one 
of them ever could endure to look far. Power 
to see all former births belongs only to those 
eternally released from the bonds of Self. Such 
exist outside of illusion, — outside of form and 
name ; and pain cannot come nigh them. 

" But to you, remaining in illusion, not even 
the Buddha could give power to look back 
more than a little way. 

" Still you are bewitched by the follies of 
art and of poetry and of music, — the delu- 
sions of color and form, — the delusions of 
sensuous speech, the delusions of sensuous 
sound. 

" Still that apparition called Nature — which 
is but another name for emptiness and shadow 
— deceives and charms you, and fills you with 
dreams of longing for the things of sense. 

" But he who tridy wishes to know, must not 
love this phantom Nature, — must not find de- 
light in the radiance of a clear sky, — nor in 
the sight of the sea, — nor in the sound of the 
flowing of rivers, — nor in the forms of peaks 
and woods and valleys, — nor in the colors of 
them. 



294 WITHIN THE CIRCLE 

" He who truly wishes to know must not 
find delight in contemplating the works and 
the deeds of men, nor in hearing their con- 
verse, nor in observing the puppet-play of 
their passions and of their emotions. All 
this is but a weaving of smoke, — a shimmer- 
ing of vapors, — an impermanency, — a phan- 
tasmagory. 

" For the pleasures that men term lofty or 
noble or sublime are but larger sensualisms, 
subtler falsities : venomous fair-seeming flow^ 
Brings of selfishness, — all rooted in the elder 
slime of appetites and desires. To joy in 
the radiance of a cloudless day, — to see the 
mountains shift their tintings to the wheeling 
of the sun, — to watch the passing of waves, 
the fading of sunsets, — to find charm in the 
blossoming of plants or trees : all this is of 
the senses. Not less truly of the senses is the 
pleasure of observing actions called great or 
beautiful or heroic, — since it is one with 
the pleasure of imagining those things for 
which men miserably strive in this miserable 
world : brief love and fame and honor, — all 
of which are empty as passing foam. 

" Sky, sun, and sea ; — the peaks, the 



WITHIN THE CIRCLE 295 

woods, the plains ; — all splendors and forms 
and colors, — are spectres. The feelings and 
the thoughts and tlie acts of men, — whether 
deemed high or low, noble or ignoble, — all 
things imagined or done for any save the 
eternal purpose, are but dreams born of 
dreams and begetting hollowness. To the 
clear of sight, all feelings of self, — all love 
and hate, joy and pain, hope and regret, are 
alike shadows ; — youth and age, beauty and 
horror, sweetness and foulness, are not differ- 
ent ; — death and life are one and the same ; 
and Space and Time exist but as the stage 
and the order of the perpetual Shadow-play. 

" All that exists in Time must perish. To 
tie Awakened there is no Time or Space or 
Change, — no night or day, — no heat or 
cold, — no moon or season, — no present, past, 
or future. Form and the names of form are 
alike nothingness : — Knowledge only is real ; 
and unto whomsoever gains it, the universe 
becomes a ghost. But it is written : — ' He 
who hath overcome Time in the i^ct^t (md the 
future must he of exceedingly pure under- 
standing.^ 

" Such understanding is not yours. Still 



296 WITHIN THE CIRCLE 

to your eyes tiie shadow seems the substance, 

— and darkness, light, — and voidness, beauty. 
And therefore to see your former births could 
give you only pain." 

I asked : — 

" Had I found strength to look back to the 
beginning, — back to the verge of Time, — 
could I have read the Secret of the uni- 
verse ? " 

" Nay," was answer made. *' Only by In- 
finite Vision can the Secret be read. Could 
you have looked back incomparably further 
than your power permitted, then the Past 
would have become for you the Future. And 
could you have endured even yet more, the 
Future would have orbed back for you into 
the Present." 

" Yet why ? " I murmured, marveling, 
..." What is the Circle ? " 

" Circle there is none," was the response ; 

— " Circle there is none but the great phan- 
tom-whirl of birth and death to which, by 
their own thoughts and deeds, the ignorant 
remain condemned. But this has being only 
in Time ; and Time itself is illusion." 



CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, U. S. Ae 

ELECTROTYPED AND PRINTED BY 

H. O. HOUGHTON AND CO. 



THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 



AN INITIAL FINE OF 25 CENTS 

WILL BE ASSESSED FOR FAILURE TO RETURN 
THIS BOOK ON THE DATE DUE. THE PENALTY 
WILL INCREASE TO 50 CENTS ON THE FOURTH 
DAY AND TO $1.00 ON THE SEVENTH DAY 
OVERDUE. 



JUN 22 1934 




'^ 6 1937 



JUN 2 1998 



SEP 20 19 



&: 



SEP 11 



vm 



— o 



RgC^O LO 



m ' ^zii'm 



MAR 2 4 1970 2 (^ 
KEC'DLD JUN d3 70 -5PM 4 Q 



LD 21-100m-7.'33 






.C.BERKELEY LIBRARIES 




<2Q^5^53313 





UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY